Growing number of hospital patients are malnourished when they die
Growing number of hospital patients are malnourished when they die

While not recorded as the cause of death the quoteffects of hungerquot were noted on the death certificates of 301 people in England in 2010 up from 195 in 2001
The total of more than 2500 over the decade covered deaths that occurred in NHS hospitals and is likely to be an underestimate because deaths in nursing homes psychiatric hospitals or in the patients homes were not included
There has been fierce criticism of nursing care of the elderly in hospital with patients reported to have been drinking from flower vases because they were so thirsty and meals regularly being left out of reach
However malnutrition can be a sideeffect of underlying conditions such as cancer and dementia and patients who are nearing the end of their lives are often found to be unable or unwilling to eat
The figures were disclosed in a parliamentary answer to Andy Burnham the shadow health secretary
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Stephen Penneck the directorgeneral of the Office for National Statistics provided the answers on behalf of the Cabinet Office He said quotMalnutrition may be recorded as the underlying cause of death but this is a rare occurrence
quotThe effects of hunger is never recorded as the underlying cause of death because it is defined by the international classification of diseases as a secondary cause only Consequently deaths with any mention of either of these causes on the death certificate have been providedquot
A Department of Health spokesman said quotMany patients who suffer or die from malnutrition and dehydration are admitted to hospital with these conditions They also often have underlying health conditions like cancer that make them more susceptible to these problemsquot
She added quotHowever every NHS patient has the right to expect that they are looked after properly in hospital It is unacceptable if patients go hungry or are malnourished
quotThats why the Prime Minister recently highlighted the importance of nursing rounds dedicated to giving senior nurses more time to check that patients are comfortable are helped to eat and drink and are treated with the dignity and respect they deservequot

Date : 22 May, 2012
Reference : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9280019/Growing-number-of-hospital-patients-are-malnour

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