Long stays in hospital can leave many dementia patients dehydrated and malnourished, a charity report has found.
The Alzheimer’s Society found that many patients with dementia end up dehydrated and malnourished and said that if the average hospital stay was cut by one week, the NHS would save at least £80m a year.
The Alzheimer’s Society questioned more than 2,400 NHS staff and carers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and almost half (47%) said being in hospital had a “significant negative effect on the general physical health of the person with dementia that was not a direct result of the medical condition”.
Andrew Chidgey, head of policy and public affairs at The Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Typically what we see is that people are deteriorating while in hospital because they are becoming more confused, disorientated, distressed and in some cases agitated.
“This means they are becoming dehydrated, malnourished, their dementia is becoming worse and they are taking far longer to recover from whatever they went into hospital for.”