In their desperation to cope with the tsunami of dementia that is overwhelming the NHS some clinicians are resorting to consulting staff and even relatives of patients. An interesting report of an audit by the Royal Chollege of Psychiatrists has come up with some rather obvious insights.
They interviewed 15,000 staff on NHS hospital dementia wards together with 5,000 carers. They found that a quarter of staff said they cannot feed their patients properly.
You have to wonder if the psychiatrists have visited any of these wards at all in recent years! If they have they must have had their eyes closed. This is not a new situation. Back in 2010 the Care Quality Commission reported that 300 patients die in hospital of malnutrition and many of them would have been dementia cases. ( See my blog written in December 2010 by clicking on ” Neglect shames Britain” in the Tag Cloud)
How many more people will have died since then ?
The psychiatrists solution is to ask relatives to come into hospital and help feed their loved one. This is not a bad idea, but why stop at feeding? Why not get relatives to hand out the medication? Maybe get patients washed and dressed? Oh and perhaps give the floors a good scrub before they leave?
Of course you would have to overcome unwelcoming staff, restrictive visiting hours and excessive parking charges first.
But it might work.
Alternatively you could employ the right amount of staff to provide good care. Adequate nutrition is a fundamental part of health care, not an incidental add-on.