The NHS is again being criticised for the poor standard of care they are providing for elderly patients.
A shocking Care Quality Commission report states that one in five hospitals is breaking the law by their ill treatment of the elderly. During a check of 100 hospitals, the Care Quality Commission found elderly patients being left unfed, without water and not being offered any assistance to the toilet.
The Care Quality Commission also found patients desperately begging nursing staff to help them. It has been reported that patients were buzzing for nurses who never arrived, old ladies had to use a commode at their bedside, and others went hungry. One old lady was found to be lying for hours with the remains of her breakfast cereal spilled on her sheets as she slept. Nobody came to clean her or make her comfortable.
The Chairman of the Care Quality Commission, Dame Jo Williams, stated that some the most horrifying findings included an elderly women calling for help and rattling her bed rail while nursing staff ignored her as they passed by, and a elderly man banging his water jug on his bedside table to try to get someone to attend to him.
Most shockingly however, some patients had their health put at risk as it is reported that nurses ignored doctor’s instructions.
In most cases many of the elderly patients suffered from more than one health problem and required companionate nursing to return them back to reasonable health. Dame Jo Williams stated that ‘hospitals need to care for the person not just the condition’.
Within the top 20 worst offending hospitals, closest to Shropshire & Herefordshire and therefore within our practice area are:
• The Alexandra Hospital, Worcestershire
• Sandwell General Hospital, West Bromwich
• Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport
For relatives, it certainly must feel as if there has been a collective decision made that elderly patients are going to die anyway, so they are simply not a priority.
Swift action must take place to protect the elderly against any neglect whilst in the care of the NHS.
If we were to walk into any geriatric ward in a month’s time, would we find that conditions have improved and have we failed as a society if we are prepared to write off our elderly population so cheaply?