Hydrate for Health

Elderly patient died after dehydration and lack of food at hospital

Nestor Rentas GM 0 Comments

An elderly patient died a week after she became dehydrated and was not properly fed while in hospital for a hip operation. NHS Lothian has now been slammed over the woman’s death and her care while she was at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

The woman, known as Mrs A, was taken to the hospital after falling and fracturing her hip while at her care home on January 2013. She needed help with eating and drinking, but was fully mobile and on fairly good health before she went into hospital. After her operation, Mrs A became dehydrated, and developed a pressure ulcer while in hospital.

She died a week after being discharged, and her daughter Mrs C complained that her mother was not treated or cared for properly. Mrs C also complained that her mother’s diabetes was not managed appropriately by staff at the hospital.

NHS Lothian told Mrs C that a fluid chart was started for her mother the day after she was admitted, and was monitored accurately, with fluids given when they were prescribed. A food chart was started three days later. Mrs C was unhappy with their response and complained about her mother’s care.

A report by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) found that the care provided to Mrs A “fell well below a reasonable level in several respects.” The ombudsman, Jim Martin, revealed in his report that “food charts were not always completed” to record the woman’s food and fluid intake properly. There was “no evidence of a specific care plan” to meet Mrs A’s needs, according to Mr Martin who said his medical adviser was “very critical of Mrs A’s care, and that she became dehydrated”. The report read: “My medical adviser noted that the pressure ulcer she developed was not a trivial one and said more consideration should have been given to Mrs A’s dehydration when assessing her.

“Both advisers agreed that the standards of care provided to Mrs A fell well below a reasonable level in several respects. “I concluded that, although she had dementia, Mrs A was generally in a good state of physical health before being admitted to hospital after her fall. “She did not, however, receive appropriate care there in terms of nutrition or the provision of a specific care plan. She did not receive appropriate treatment for dehydration and her diabetes was not monitored appropriately. “I also found that Mrs A’s discharge was not properly planned in a number of respects, and that the board did not adequately investigate Mrs C’s complaint about the standard of care provided to her late mother.”

By Matt Coyle