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Half of Inspected UK Hospitals Malnourish Elderly Patients

The results of a Care Quality Commission inspection in the United Kingdom will be published officially next week, but initial findings are already alarming. Out of 100 hospitals, 49 neglected to meet nutritional standards, and 17 raised serious concerns about the care of their senior patients. Worcestershire Acute Hospitals, for one, had a ward in which some elderly patients had not been given a drink for at least ten hours. In some cases, the dehydration of patients was so advanced that doctors put them on IV drips.

“Water and food are not treatments – they are a basic human right,” said Patient’s Association chief executive Katherine Murphy. “Helping patients with food and water is not a ‘try to do’, it is a fundamental part of essential care.”

At Sandwell Hospital, inspectors found that staff did not keep track of which patients had eaten or how much fluid they were getting. There were other malnutrition concerns. Understaffing may be a problem: one nurse from Sandwell said, “Sometimes I am the only staff member to feed on the ward. How can I feed all these people?”

Among the most shocking findings is that some hospitals were issuing Do Not Resuscitate orders into the files of patients without receiving such an order from the patient or patient’s families.

There were only 45 hospitals inspected that raised absolutely no concerns about the care and respect of older patients. Sandwell and one other hospital, Alexandra, were the only two hospitals to raise severe concerns about elder care.

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Lucy is a recent graduate of Western Washington University, majoring in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. Lucy tagged this post with: , , , Read 7 articles by
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