Nutrition and Hydration an issue of increasing importance in the care Home sector

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

A Government spokesmen has revealed that between 1 January 2015 and 7 November 2016, 312 care homes were in breach of CQC’s own regulations on hydration and nutrition.  David Mowat, a minister for health revealed the figures to the Commons in a parliamentary answer to a question put to the department.

The figures suggest that up to 11,000 residents of care homes appear to have been at risk of what might be determined a fundamental right within such establishments.  Some blame the underfunding of placements by local authorities and others the inability to attract the appropriate number or quality of staff in care homes.  Statistics read in isolation such as these make for uncomfortable reading for commentators on the state of the sector within the UK.

Although 72% of all Care Homes are currently rated at least good such instances of bad care reflect badly on the sector as a whole; the picture that these statistics fail to reveal is quite how long such establishments have been providing poor hydration and nutrition provision. A critical observer would note that the system of inspection, good though it can be, only really has the ability, regardless of the amount of data gathered prior to the inspection visit itself, to provide a snapshot of the running of a care home within a short period. This short period is not necessarily reflective of the practice of the Home across a longer period of time and may reflect a particularly difficult set of circumstances.

Far be it for me to belittle the significance of these findings but without proper scrutiny into the detail behind the data it is impossible to assess the severity of the issue across the sector.

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