Patients in NHS hospitals are far more likely to go hungry than criminals in jail, a new study from Bournemouth Uni has warned. They say frail and elderly patients do not get the help they need with meals and nobody checks whether they get enough to eat. 11 million NHS meals are thrown away a year. Despite years of Government promises to tackle poor hospital nutrition, food can still arrive cold and patients often miss meals because meal times clash with tests. Latest figures show that 242 patients died of malnutrition in NHS hospitals in 2007 – the highest toll in a decade. Over 8,000 patients left hospital under-nourished, double the 1997 figure. Earlier this year it was revealed that some hospitals spend less per day on food than the £2.12p a day allocated for food by the prison service. One hospital spends just £1 a day on food. Prof. John Edwards said the nutrition content of prison food is “extremely good”. The NHS say they are working on an action plan on how nutritional care and hydration can be improved. D. Mail 31.8.09
Ed’s Note: My advice is always to take food in to people in hospital if you can, or to aim to be there at the main meal time to check they’re eating properly. I’m sure most nurses and doctors care greatly, but simply don’t have the time to check. A flask of home-made wholesome soup can go a long way to keeping a frail person nourished, just remember to check with the nurses that they are not on ‘nil by mouth’ or anything. And whilst you’re at it, take in a cloth with some teatree, lavender or sweet orange essential oil on it and have a wipe around to protect them from superbugs too.
Before going into hospital, it’s a good idea to get the level of good bowel bacteria up to keep immunity strong. Try 1 capsule per day for a month beforehand. If having an op, Heels homeopathic Traumeel for 2 weeks before, whilst in hospital and for a month afterwards pays dividends in speeding up healing and keeping bruising and swelling down. It’s cheap but very effective and can be put as drops into your everyday water or straight onto the tongue.