Campaign against malnutrition in hospitals

A plate of food and a drink left for an older patient to consume in hospital.

Age UK has been campaigning to end malnutrition in hospitals since 2006.

Our Hungry to be Heard campaign tackled the scandal of older people becoming malnourished while in hospital, either because they don’t get food they can eat or the help they need to eat it.

What we called for

  • All hospital wards to effectively implement seven steps to end malnutrition
  • The Care Quality Commission to inspect hospitals with a particular focus on malnutrition

What the campaign achieved

  • Working with Age UK, many hospitals have implemented some or all of the seven steps. Read our report opens link in new window 'Still Hungry to be Heard' (PDF 1.4MB).
  • With the support of opens link in new window Abbott Nutrition, our local partners have been able to set up mealtime volunteer programmes in more than a dozen hospitals.
  • After being inundated with hundreds of emails from Age UK campaigners, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out unannounced spot checks in 100 hospitals during 2011. CQC inspectors looked to see if older people were treated with dignity and if they received the food and the support they needed at mealtimes. The inspections showed that while some hospitals were doing well, a fifth of hospitals were not meeting the minimum standards required by law. More inspections are planned for 2012. Read the opens link in new window CQC report.

What's happening now

Age UK is now working with others in a Malnutrition Taskforce to look at how to drive down preventable and avoidable malnutrition in hospitals, care homes and the community.

What you can do

Have you, or someone you know, experienced malnutrition in hospital, a care home, or at home? Would you be happy to share your experiences with Age UK? If so, please contact us.

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