More Than 1,000 Care Home Residents Die Of Thirst

New Figures Show A Worrying Number Of Elderly People Die Of Dehydration In Care Homes


New figures have shown 1,158 elderly care home residents suffered dehydration-related deaths between 2003 and 2012.

Obtained by the Daily Telegraph, the statistics revealed that an alarming number of people were left to die thirsty while being cared for by professionals in England and Wales.

Some 318 patients also died of malnutrition during the ten-year period.

Additionally, 2,185 deaths were linked to bed sores and these figures are likely to be much higher as a number of care home residents would have died in hospital, which means they were not accounted for in this latest Freedom of Information request.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has uncovered a number of examples of poor care in recent months, with the regulator handing out several improvement notices to homes up and down the country.

Care and support minister Norman Lamb said the Daily Telegraph findings are "entirely unacceptable" and he believes new rules will enable the CQC to act more quickly when cases of neglect are brought to its attention.

Particular concerns have been raised about the standard of care offered to mental health patients in the UK and the CQC has pledged to change the way it inspects community-based homes in the future.

Dr Alison Cook, from the Alzheimer's Society, said the figures - which were released by the Office for National Statistics - are an "utter disgrace".

"How can we call ourselves civilised when people are left to starve or die of thirst?" she commented.

Meanwhile, Dot Gibson, general secretary of the National Pensioners Convention, insisted the social care system is in need of a big transformation.

She told the news provider that the public would be outraged if animals were treated in this manner.

"It is not good enough for ministers or the care regulator to talk about making improvements by 2015 when, in the meantime, older people are dying from neglect," Ms Gibson was quoted as saying.

Expert Opinion
It is unacceptable for anyone who lives at a care home to be denied of such a basic human need, and steps must be taken to ensure that additional training and support is available for staff to bring this care home up to the recommended level.

“Elderly people deserve to have access to a high standard of treatment that considers their respect and dignity at all times. It shouldn’t have to take inspections and a report for people to make sure care is of the highest standards.”
Lisa Jordan, Partner