Record numbers of pensioners are being admitted to hospital suffering malnutrition, and this is being blamed on the growing social care crisis. Charities believe older people are being left to starve both in their own home, and also in care homes. NHS data suggests that malnutrition identified on hospital admissions has tripled for adults in the last decade or so.
A Green Paper on Social Care was promised over 2 years ago but has been repeatedly delayed and was dropped in 2017 as the Government feared “dementia tax” would feature in their General Election. Lesley Carter from the charity “Age UK” said many older people are isolated and being left to waste away. With care services under pressure many older people receive a meal quickly but no one has the time to stay with the person and ensure that they actually eat it. Even in a care home the same situation can exist with people being admitted to hospital underweight. More people going to their local Council requesting help are finding they are turned away, and that the system is too complex.
Independent Owner Mark Booker commented “we are all emotionally attached to more funding for the NHS and politically it is a headline grabber. However in reality with rapidly rising numbers of elderly people the greater need is probably social care. The two are linked because if we invested in good social care then it is likely less older people would need to be admitted to hospital, and if they are admitted they would stay a shorter time. However, if we want to help older people we must accept that social care is just as important as the NHS.”