Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dementia Sufferers Are Malnourished

Huge Numbers Of UK Dementia Sufferers Are "Let Down" By Care Homes

14.02.2014

Hundreds of thousands of dementia patients living in UK care homes are malnourished, a new report has suggested.

Conducted by Alzheimer's Disease International and Compass Group, the study showed as many as 50 per cent of sufferers in developed countries do not receive enough food and drink from their carers.

Up to 45 per cent of dementia patients were said to report clinically significant weight loss over the course of a year.

The report recommended that nutritional standards are adopted throughout the health and social care sector and that more research is conducted into possible diet plans that can slow down the progression of cognitive impairment.

George McNamara, head of policy at the Alzheimer's Society, said these findings should provide the healthcare industry with a "wake-up call".

"It is scandalous that hundreds of thousands of people living with dementia in the UK have been let down when it comes to something as basic as food and drink," he commented.

According to Alzheimer's Society statistics, one in three people over the age of 65 will develop dementia.

Around 800,000 people in the UK have some form of the condition, with half of this number diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. 

Professor Martin Prince from King's College London explained that steps need to be taken to protect care home residents.

"While weight loss in dementia is very common and can be an intrinsic part of the disease, it is avoidable and we should be doing much more to tackle the problem," he remarked.

This issue needs to be resolved quickly, as the Alzheimer's Society predicts the number of people being diagnosed with dementia will rise dramatically in the future.

The organisation believes a million Britons will be living with the condition within ten years and this figure will soar to 1.7 million by 2051.

Mr McNamara added that simple measures - such as monitoring the weight and nutrition of care home residents and providing carers with better education - can make a real difference.

If you or a loved one has suffered due to professional or clinical negligence from a mental health practitioner, or at worst your loved one has died, we can help you to claim compensation. Visit our Mental Health Negligence Claims page for more information.

Expert Opinion
The results of this study are very worrying as all patients should have their basic human needs met and food and water are clearly fundamental.

“We work on behalf of dementia sufferers who require around-the-clock support and for them to be let down in this way and treated with so little dignity is simply unacceptable.

“Dementia is a serious and debilitating condition for both the patient and their family and they deserve the best possible care. As the UK population continues to age, action must be taken to ensure care and diet plans are thorough and tailored to the individual to ensure they can live with and manage the illness in the best possible way.”
Lisa Jordan, Partner