A study, conducted by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), found that malnutrition affects over half of dementia patients – 70% of those in hospitals, 30% in care homes and 10% of those living at home.
There are around 800,000 dementia sufferers in the UK, more than half of which suffer with Alzheimer’s. Of the research that was studied for the purpose of the report it was found that half of care residents didn’t eat enough and almost half didn’t drink enough either.
Consequences of patients not eating or drinking enough include:
“frailty, reduced mobility, skin fragility, an increased risk of falls and fractures, exacerbation of health conditions and increased mortality,” the report said.
It’s well-known that the combination of the illness and certain treatments can cause people to lose their appetite. Studies in France and the UK also support this. Three French studies show that around 45% of those suffering with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s lose a significant amount of weight, and US studies show that half the residents in care homes don’t get enough fluid or food.
This shocking trend is expected to be similar in the UK and the Alzheimer’s Society head of policy George McNamara said:
“It is scandalous that hundreds of thousands of people living with dementia in the UK have been let down when it comes to something as basic as food and drink.
It is vital to get the fundamentals of care right, and we need a wake-up call across our health and social care system.
Malnutrition can be avoided by healthcare professionals doing simple things such as monitoring weight and nutrition.”