Thousands dying of hunger, thirst and bedsores in NHS hospital care – Is it happening here too ?

I was struck  on a recent hospital visit to a friend to see food put in front of an elderly woman who was clearly unable to feed herself (due to ill health and possibly to medication).  She was left with a tray plonked down in front of her and given no help by staff  in cutting it up or eating it.   Also windows were wide open and she was far too cold and was unable to cover herself.

A report in the UK  has shown that thousands of people are dying in hospitals and nursing home s due to lack of basic nursing – some starving to death and others dying of thirst.  One young man died of dehydration in hospital after having phoned 999 to get the police as he was  dehydrated and could not get staff to give him water.  UK hospital food is notoriously inadequate and malnutrition an ongoing problem.  Studies there have shown that it is normal to lose weight in hospital.  Irish hospital food can be good, but only if the person can eat it.

Does anyone have any experience of this happening in Irish hospitals?  What can be done for people who don’t have friends or family to visit them and to feed them each day?

Is there a need for a new grade of nurses who don’t have degrees, but do know how to – and have time to – look after patients’ basic needs ?

C. Flower    8 October 2012
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One Response

  1. Addendum : Since writing this post, the HSE has published a report on hospital incidents, including accidents and incorrect drug doses, since 2006. There are thousands of cases involved, and a report like this will enable, hopefully, better procedures to be put in place to reduce these incidents. Over 85,000 “adverse events” were reported by staff in 2011. http://www.hse.ie/eng/services/News/patientsafety.html However, the report does not cover any events under the malnutrition – dehydration category.

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