In excess of 1,000 people have died in care homes across England and Wales over the last 10 years as a result of dehydration, according to an investigation by the Daily Telegraph.
The newspaper acquired figures from the Office of National Statistics under the Freedom of Information Act that revealed 1,158 care homes residents suffered dehydration-related deaths between 2003 and 2012.
Dehydration was given as either the main cause of death or a contributing influence on the resident’s death certificate, the Telegraph said.
Starvation or severe malnutrition accounted for 318 deaths in care homes during this period, while bed sores were a factor in 2,815 deaths.
Charities called for better training for care home staff in order to improve resident care.
‘It makes you sick to the stomach that you are handing your loved ones over with even the remotest possibility they could starve to death or die of thirst,’ said Dr Alison Cook, director of external affairs at the Alzheimer’s Society.
‘There is a real need for better training for those who are looking after elderly and vulnerable people. But even more important is allowing people the time to really care for someone.’
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) reported in October that it was considering using hidden cameras and ‘mystery shoppers’ to record experiences of care home services in an attempt to prevent abuse and neglect.
The new chief inspectors of adult social care at the CQC, Andrea Sutcliffe, has called for a ‘proper conversation’ about using hidden cameras in this way.