Warning Issued Over Hospital Care For The Elderly

NCEPOD Report Highlights Concerns

11.11.2010

A leading healthcare expert has called for the care received by elderly patients in hospitals to improve, following the release of a new report criticising standards.

The research by the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) assessed the cases of a number of elderly people who died in hospital within 30 days of undergoing operations.

According to the NCEPOD, just one-third were found to have received good care, while it was also found that many patients were admitted as emergencies by junior doctors without input from more senior clinicians.

In addition, it was revealed that clinically significant delays occurred in relation to one in five cases between admission and operation.

Sarah Head of Irwin Mitchell said: “Appropriate care for elderly patients is crucial, whatever their needs.

“If they are stressed by starvation and dehydration prior to surgery, especially where surgery is postponed for whatever reason, it only makes sense they need extra care in regaining their fluid and nutritional balance once the procedure is over.

“Policies and procedures were put in place over ten years ago with the introduction of various nursing standards, but in many hospitals they aren't working.

“It is concerning that families may be forced to grieve for their loved ones believing their death to be caused by the very hospital services supposed to improve their health.”