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Dementia patients 'dehydrated and malnourished'

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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.”

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Readers' comments (2)

  • I am not surprised by this report and agree with it as my Father was in hosp with Alzheimers with a cardiac condition. His Alz drugs were just stopped. As a family we ended up being with him 8am-8pm and they still lost him one night. I was appalled with the lack of nursing and medical care and lack of awareness of Alzheimers. They were only concerned with his heart. What happened to holistic care. As a health professional on the other side I found it a very negative experience.

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  • I agree with the statement and have seen this happen in my own workplace. However, i would be more interested in a follow up atudy that looked at why this is the case, then e can look for solutions. Maybe emphasis on treatment at home, or adaptation of the hospital environment.

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