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NHS elderly care shamed by report

15th February 2011

A report has said the health service in England is not giving older patients the standards of care they deserve.

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The Health Service Ombusdman made the observation after performing a review of 10 cases.

The ombudsman's Care and Compassion report stated that elderly patients were neglected, left in pain and distressed.

The ombudsman received nearly 9,000 complaints in 2009, of which 18% involved the treatment of elderly people. It looked into 228 cases - double the amount for all other age groups.

The report said there was a chasm between the values espoused by the health service and the treatment of elderly patients in its care.

The ombudsman analysis showed half the patients did not drink enough water or eat enough food during their stay in hospital.

Cases included one patient who was too dehydrated to be able to call for help and had been left sitting behind a curtain, desperate to go to the toilet.

Another detailed the request of an elderly woman who was told by a nurse "that's not my job" when the woman asked her to call her daughter to come and pick her up after surgery.

Ann Abraham, the Health Service Ombudsman, said the accounts painted a picture of NHS provision that was "failing to meet even the most basic standards of care. These often harrowing accounts should cause every member of staff who reads this report to pause and ask themselves if any of their patients could suffer in the same way".

Michelle Mitchell, of Age UK, said: "The inhumane treatment of older people described in this report is sickening and should send shockwaves through the NHS and government."

 

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Comments

Wayne Belcher

Thursday 17th February 2011 @ 1:32

I wonder just how isolated this problem is to the UK. As the world ages has much/most of western society and developing nations forgotten how to respect our elderly. One of humanity's greatest achievements - of all time - is to have improved longevity to where it is today and even further to where it will be in 2050. But at the cost of such poor treatment by our costly, venerated and ubiquitous health systems, has it been worth the opportunity cost of scant regard and loss of respect?

Sean O'Cleirigh

Tuesday 22nd February 2011 @ 22:08

Quote.

‘The education programme for nurses lacks practical experience for student nurses. Dingwell and Allen have concluded that this organisational devaluing of holistic care has resulted in professional demoralisation because nurses in practice are not actively engaged in the work they are trained to value’

Too posh to wash is oft quoted. Too posh to walk on a ward with sick people in it has been the normal practice of the great, grand queens of sheeba nursing ‘officers' of the NHS. How posh is that? Nursing has been degraded by the nursing ‘profession’ and with it care. Care has been systematically degraded by the angels of Florence Nightingale. Let’s get the grandees of the nursing ‘profession’ out and bring in respect for caring and carers. Respect for the patient’s dignity will follow. The nursing profession’s’ leaders bear responsibility for the hugest betrayal of their members and society since the Bolsheviks.

Refs.
Dingwall, R. and Allen, D. (2001), the implications of healthcare reforms for the profession of nursing. Nursing Inquiry, 8: 64–74. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-1800.2001.00100.x

Martin Baldwin

Wednesday 23rd February 2011 @ 10:22

It's not really fair that, for example, stairlifts can be found at the same price from a private company as from the NHS. Making stairlifts readily available might help ease the problem of disabled and elderly people in hospitals.


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