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'Distressing' care home starvation levels

Published on 08 October 2012 11:30 AM

Eight people starved to death and 21 people died of thirst in UK care homes last year, according to new statistics.

The Government also released shocking figures that show as many as 43 people starved to death and 111 died of thirst in NHS hospitals in 2011.

The information from the Office for National Statistics shows that:

  • 287 people were recorded by hospital staff as being malnourished when they died.
  • 558 people were recorded by hospital staff as having been severely dehydrated when they died.
  • Bedsores were responsible for the deaths of 78 hospital and 39 care home patients. Also, 650 people had the existence of bedsores recorded on their death certificates.
  • Septicaemia, which is often the result of infected wounds, was found in 21,696 patients who died in 2011.

The statistics come in the wake of various worrying reports related to inadequate care of older people, such as doctors having to prescribe drinking water or place patients on drips to avoid dehydration.

However, those that compiled the statistics have said that not all the deaths are directly the result of inadequate care, as people with conditions such as dementia and digestive problems find it much harder to eat or drink.

'Deeply distressing' statistics

The statistics were labelled 'deeply distressing' by Michelle Mitchell of Age UK, because these deaths could have been prevented.

She said: 'Hospitals and care homes must pick up on the warning signs and ensure that while older people are in their care they get all the help and support they need to eat and drink.'

The statistics come ahead of the soon-to-be published recommendations for changes to Stafford Hospital, where thousands died because of poor care,

Various scandals prompted Prime Minister David Cameron to propose changes to nursing practices earlier this year.

Copyright Press Association 2012

Last updated: Oct 06 2017

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