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Third of hospital inpatients at risk of malnutrition

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A new survey has found malnutrition is a serious risk among people being brought into hospital from their own homes.

Nutrition charity BAPEN conducted the study - which involved nearly 10,000 people.

The charity has warned that reducing community services such as meals-on-wheels could result in hospitals being put under more strain.

The results of the survey indicate that malnutrition is getting worse, despite routine screenings of patients when they are admitted to hospital.

Overall BAPEN found that the risk of malnutrition has increased from previous surveys to more than one in three people, though this particular study was the first to be conducted over winter.

In the last two surveys, 26% of people admitted to hospital from their own homes were at risk, while the latest results indicate that this is now more than 30%.

The charity has said it is key that the importance of tackling malnutrition is recognised among community services and professionals.

BAPEN chairman, Dr Mike Stroud, added: “Clearly it’s a false economy to be making cuts out in the community that are going to make people more vulnerable to malnutrition, with them ending up in hospitals where it costs a fortune to look after them, even for a short stay.”

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Readers' comments (2)

  • I finally got around to watching the recent C4 programme Dispatches yesterday, and they quoted similar figures for rates of malnutrition on admission, but what alarms me a little bit about the article above is that it says nothing about the statistics that point to more people leaving hospital malnourished than come in. All of this is to do with the quality of food provided, and in some cases patients actually not being fed for whatever reason. So in a way, BAPEN is either being quoted out of context or being disingenous. Poor food in hospitals is equally likely to increase the strain on demand as poor nutrition increases recovery time and reduces the number of patients who can be admitted so to point the finger solely at community based facilities is not putting across the whole story.

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  • "The charity has said it is key that the importance of tackling malnutrition is recognised among community services and professionals."

    how can anybody who calls themselves a professional not recognize this? how can anybody, management or professional do an honest day's paid work in a hospital, without meeting the most basic of human needs of their patients. it is beyond all comprehension and there seems to be absolutely no excuse possible no hard one may seek one. Lack of resources and funding only applies in third world countries where there is a genuine shortage.

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