Azara Blog: Older patients allegedly not getting proper meal help

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Date published: 2006/08/29

The BBC says:

Nine out of 10 nurses say they do not always have time to help ensure hospital patients eat properly, a study has found.

The charity Age Concern believes this could be one reason why six out of 10 older patients are at risk of becoming malnourished while in hospital.

The charity said the NHS was continuing to fail patients despite guidelines which make feeding a core priority.

Malnutrition is estimated to cost the UK over £7.3bn a year.
Gordon Lishman, Age Concern director-general, said: "Hospitals are in danger of becoming bad for the health of older people.

"The majority of older patients are being denied some of the basic care they need, leaving hundreds of thousands malnourished.

"Food, and help with eating it, should be recognised by ward staff as an essential part of care, and they should be given time to perform this task."

Age Concern is calling for protected mealtimes during which all non-urgent activity is suspended.

There's nothing new in the statement that "hospitals are in danger of becoming bad for the health of older people". If you want to die, you go to a hospital. Then again, the proffered solution is mainly, surprise, surprise, to spend more money (you need more nurses to do most of what Age Concern wants). The amount of money spent on the NHS has spiralled upwards in recent years, but no matter, there is always some special interest group (armed with statistics which they themselves have generated) which wants yet more spent. And do nurses believe they have "enough time" to do anything "properly"? Does anyone in any organisation (all of which could do with more money, needless to say)? If you tallied up the "good causes" (NHS and otherwise) which the BBC plugs every day, the tax rate in the UK would soon enough be 100%.

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