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Hospitals 'failing older patients'
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 10:23 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:21 pm
Posts: 1457
Location: Hampshire
Many older patients suffer unnecessary pain in hospital because of care failings, a new report has suggested.

The study examined the cases of more than 700 patients over the age of 80 who died in hospital within 30 days of having surgery.

Just 38% had received good care, 44% received care that could have been improved and 6% received care that was less than satisfactory.

A quarter of hospitals had no acute pain service, meaning people suffered unnecessarily.

The study, An Age Old Problem from the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD), found that poor nutrition and serious illnesses linked to it were 'very common' among the group.

More than one in five of the patients also experienced 'significant delays' between admission and their operation, which affected their recovery.

And despite recommendations that older patients should receive specialist care, in 68% of cases this was not provided.

Report author and NCEPOD clinical co-ordinator in surgery Ian Martin, said: 'There is still a long way to go to ensure good practice and appropriate care - this is despite our advice in 1999 and recommendations in the 2001 National Service Framework calling for specialists to be involved at every stage of elderly care.'

NCEPOD clinical co-ordinator in anaesthesia, Dr Kathy Wilkinson, who also worked on the study, said pain was not monitored, addressed or controlled.

The report's authors said pain should be as highly prioritised as heart rate and blood pressure.

Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director at Age UK, said: 'This report is a stark reminder that far too often older people in the UK receive second or even third rate care in hospital, condemning many of them to an early death.

'Despite the over-65s being the largest cohort of NHS patients, clearly our healthcare system is failing to meet the needs of an ageing population and this situation is only set to deteriorate further as life expectancy continues to increase.'


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