Vitamin D Crucial For Residents in Care Homes

This is a subject I have been thinking about for a while, mostly because my own Gran has recently gone into a care home and for years before that has been house-bound. I worry about the lack of sunlight exposure and therefore her Vitamin D levels. And then on to her risk of fractures, osteoporosis etc etc as a result of Vitamin D deficiency. Of course, she has never let me do anything about it. As they say, you can’t treat family and friends!

It is a concern though and I noticed today an Austrian study where the researchers pull no punches about this issue.

Our findings show that the vast majority of nursing home residents are severely vitamin D deficient and those with the lowest vitamin D levels are at high risk of mortality,” said Dr. Stefan Pilz, MD, of the Medical University of Graz, Austria, and lead author of the study. “This situation warrants immediate action to prevent and treat vitamin D deficiency.”

Their findings showed that vitamin D levels were below recommended levels in 92.8 percent of the study participants, suggesting that while vitamin D deficiency among frail and elderly populations has been acknowledged for several decades, no effective strategies to treat the deficiencies have been developed and implemented. 92.8%! Truly shocking in my view.

You can read the study here: Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Higher Mortality in Female Nursing Home Residents. Note this is just as applicable to men and to those who are house-bound.

My advice would be to ask the doctor to do a simple Vitamin D test and to read here about how to interpret the results using the latest guidelines. I would say it should be a given to extend quality of life at least, let alone the lessening of both suffering and the NHS cost of fractures and elderly illness.

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