Monday, May 30, 2011

Elderly patients dying of thirst.

A recent report from the NHS in the UK is suggesting that the neglect of the elderly has become so widespread that some physicians are prescribing water for their patients in order to ensure that they receive basic care.

In an article in the Mail Online on Friday, May 27, it was reported that:
The snapshot study, triggered by a Mail campaign, found staff routinely ignored patients’ calls for help and forgot to check that they had had enough to eat and drink.

Dehydration contributes to the death of more than 800 hospital patients every year.

Another 300 die malnourished. The latest report – by the Care Quality Commission – found patients frequently complained they were spoken to in a ‘condescending and dismissive’ manner.

The watchdog said three of 12 NHS trusts visited in the past three months were failing to meet the most basic standards required by law.

The findings follow a joint campaign by the Mail and the Patients Association last year which exposed shocking examples of substandard care.

Similar failings were highlighted earlier this year by the Health Service Ombudsman who cited cases of patients left to become so thirsty they could not cry for help.

Before you suggest, isn't it terrible in the UK, you need to remember a series of articles in the Toronto Star in 2003 that exposed similar problems in Canada. Link to one of the articles.

Did we fix the problem in Canada? If you read more recent articles concerning the neglect of seniors you will notice that many of the same problems continue to exist. Link to one of many articles.

The polling by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition proves that many people fear living in undignified conditions and they suggest that euthanasia may be an alternative. When asked whether we should legalize euthanasia or improve care, the majority, by far, state that we should improve care.

Until we can provide quality care for most Canadians, legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide will only create new paths for abuse and neglect for the elderly and the vulnerable Canadians who have become dependent on care.

Link to the Dignity and Nutrition for older people report.

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