Malnutrition, deprivation, inanition. These words may not sound that familiar, but they all mean the same thing: starvation. So why are we writing about starvation? Because it’s a problem that still persists in nursing homes today. A whistleblower in the UK came forward in an article with The Mirror after the paper ran a story on seven people who died of hunger. In hospitals.
Unfortunately, the epidemic doesn’t end there. It is all too easy to get caught up in the ideal of helping people which naturally leads to the question of how nursing homes can get so bad that a resident could drop from a size 16 to a size 12 in two to three weeks, as in the case the whistleblower details. But nursing homes are businesses, and too often, it seems, those in charge care less about the personal and more about profits.
The whistleblower says that much of the problem arises from the food schedule, lack of options, and lack of assistance necessary from staff. At the facility where she works, the portions are small, and the schedule has residents eating a small meal for dinner at 4:45 pm. Their next meal isn’t until 9:00 am the next morning, and the only snack they can have is a piece of toast and a cup of tea. She has 40-50 residents which are being fed at once, and about ten of them need to be fed, and many more need assistance with feeding. There’s no way one person can assist all those who require it during a timely manner.
She says, ‘By the time you help three or four, the food is cold for everyone else.’ Another issue is that there are no options for residents. If they don’t like what’s being served, they can only have a piece of toast as a substitute. Additionally, the workers have to deal with a climate that seems hostile to those who raise complaints or threaten to blow whistles. See article at The Daily Mirror.