Lack in dignity when caring for older people in hospital
- 15 Jul
A wide range survey of NHS patients has found that a fifth of people in hospital in England are not being treated with respect and dignity.
In a poll from 2012 it has been found that poor care is most likely to be experienced by people over the age of 80, reports the BBC.
Over a third of patients who need help at mealtimes did not receive enough assistance.
NHS England said looking after older patients well was a critical test of a modern health service.
Age UK, which helped to advise the researchers, said there had been "remarkably little change" over time in the care experienced by older patients.
The report was carried out by the Centre for Analysis in Social Exclusion at the LSE, and found that poor or inconsistent care was most likely to be experienced by women and the over-80s.
According to the report: "There was a widespread and systematic pattern of inconsistent or poor standards of care during hospital stays in England in 2012. Patient experiences of inconsistent or poor standards of dignity and help with eating do not appear to be limited to isolated 'outlier' providers. Rather, this appears to be a significant general problem affecting the vast majority of NHS acute hospital trusts."
23% of patients reported experiencing poor or inconsistent standards of dignity and respect which is the equivalent to 2.8 million a year, of which a million would be over the age of 65.
Age UK charity director Caroline Abrahams said: "It must be recognised that the data this research is based on is two years old now and that the newest figures suggest some welcome improvement, especially as regards older people's experiences of dignity, but this sobering report certainly shows that hospitals need to redouble their efforts. Above all it is really worrying, if perhaps not altogether surprising, that the more vulnerable an older person is, the greater their risk of not being treated as we would all wish for ourselves or our loved ones. Turning this situation around ought to be a top priority and no hospital can afford to be complacent."
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