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Not eating.

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Community Veteran
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Registered: ‎02-08-2007

Not eating.

Been to visit a elderly relative who has been in hospital for a few weeks and recently refused to eat any food, no reason given simply declined to have anything to eat for the past 3 - 4 days.

Talking to nursing staff on the ward they say they have no power to make anyone eat and correctly suggested that nearest relatives try to persuade her to eat but still refuses.

Clearly underweight but is able to understand what is going on and can converse with people.

At least she drinks, water or diluted orange juice.

In hospital due to a fall so refusal of food is not related to any digestive system problems.

Any views ?

Sensible comments please.

14 REPLIES 14
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Community Veteran
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Registered: ‎23-09-2010

Re: Not eating.

I would guess that the only sure way is to get them home or to a relatives home. I suppose when you say any food, you've tried bringing in their favourite food.

I assume there is some underlying problem / reason why they don't want to eat but that's something everybody must already be trying to get to the bottom of. Often there's some embarrassment involved in not using your own toilets especially for the elderly.

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All Star
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Registered: ‎25-07-2007

Re: Not eating.

We had a relative in hospital refusing to eat. The hospital rang us up asking to take in food. At visiting times we were loaded with sandwiches and flasks of soup. Turns out the patient just didn’t like the food on offer. @gleneagles Try taking in simple food that your relative is known to eat, try a banana. It may just be a lack of trust in the food being offered.

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Pro
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Registered: ‎04-06-2009

Re: Not eating.

Check she hasn't got oral thrush or a mouth ulcer and as gross as it sounds check to see if she wears dentures they are hers!  Have they tried the high calorie milk drinks to get some into her?

Nothing stopping her nearest and dearest taking some food in to try, some of her favourites perhaps and often sweet things go down well. They could try offering a container of finger food that she could graze on as she fancies rather than plate full of food. 

As daft as it sounds my OH doesn't like custard or gravy and although the choice wasn't ticked on his menu choices they 'decided' it was an omission and insisted on covering everything in sauce. I had to write in big letters no custard or gravy across it.

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Seasoned Champion
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Re: Not eating.

Lots of good points made, mistrust of food, embarrassment eating in front of others, and a whole mixture of conflicting emotions and bewilderment at finding themselves in hospital.  Many older people still think that once they go into hospital they come out in a box, I know my parents generation felt like that.   All you can do is take them food they like and trust.  I do think that nursing has lost a lot of caring since nurses expected to have degrees and when we visit people nurses seem to be congregated by nurses station messing with phones , and patients being tended by overworked nursing assistants.

 

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Aspiring Hero
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Registered: ‎05-09-2016

Re: Not eating.

Depression?  It often goes hand in hand with a physical complaint and isn't always as straight forward to spot as some people think?

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Registered: ‎02-08-2007

Re: Not eating.

Thank you all for the suggestions......will pass them on to those closest to her, fortunately her husband is still alive and is likely to be the best one to get her to eat.

I have not actually seen the food served but it is interesting that she did eat for the first week or so.

If there had been more physiotherapists about she might have been close to going home but like others on the ward she is still waiting for that service....I think they also advise on what aids are required before discharge home but even that has not happened yet.

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Community Veteran
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Registered: ‎06-11-2007

Re: Not eating.


@gleneagles wrote:

 

If there had been more physiotherapists about she might have been close to going home but like others on the ward she is still waiting for that service....I think they also advise on what aids are required before discharge home but even that has not happened yet.


for these ,.... you should chase them up, and the best way to do that would be to have a very "firm" discussion with the Ward Sister, or Senior Nursing staff member.

Sometimes these "extras" get forgotten, to be actioned... and need someone to remind someone that they are still waiting... and how much longer will it be,.. ( as they do need the bed for someone else, more needy,... surely  ? ? ?   )

 

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Registered: ‎02-08-2007

Re: Not eating.

@shutter 

I think it might be more about a shortage of physiotherapists rather than anything else.

In years gone by the Sister in charge of the ward had total responsibility for all staff, these days everything is in seperate departments so the most that those in charge of a ward can do is simply pass the referral on but have no power to insist when a physio will attend.

Clearly staff on these wards are very busy and I guess they all want to get patients discharged asap but this bed blocking is on a national scale......brought about by funding not matching the increase in patient numbers.

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Re: Not eating.

@gleneagles Agreed.... to a point.... but... if you don`t "remind" them.... then they are "not aware" that nothing has been carried out as you were informed would be...

By talking to the senior staff, about problems like this, gives the staff some impetus to, at least, chase it up for you, and if they have had several cases, some "ammunition" to take the matter further.

After all, the way things are, it is a bit like your car in the garage..... we`ll get around to it when we can if you leave it with us...... 

   a couple of weeks later and you chase the garage up..

. Ah yes sir.... we started on that this morning, it will be ready tomorrow at 12 o clock... ( even at that moment, he is calling jim to get your car on the ramp next job....! ..

 

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Seasoned Champion
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Registered: ‎21-11-2018

Re: Not eating.

Couple of interesting articles about NHS..

 

In this article one expert says ‘we could spend the whole of our GDP on NHS and it still wouldn’t be enough.

 

https://www.thersa.org/discover/publications-and-articles/matthew-taylor-blog/2019/11/only-the-peopl...

 

 

Jeremy Hunt is mentioned in this article and admits to taking his child to A&E rather than wait for a GP appointment, and GP would probably send them to hospital anyway ( as the overpaid GPs tend to do these days ).

 

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/nhs/11319627/AandE-in-crisis-a-special-report.html

 

People using A&E instead of GP, and as an alternative to Google.  They keep trying to close the A&E in our local hospital down – the latest con is to run it from 8am to 6 pm and no overnight service.

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Pro
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Registered: ‎04-06-2009

Re: Not eating.

Don't get me started on physio. Non existent around here. Hospital was short staffed & when they did give OH some time they asked him to do things which he couldn't and they offered no him help, just walked off saying he couldn't do it. We were told he could have physio 3-4 times a weeks at home but they failed to say there was a 4mth waiting list, so I employed a private physio for him. 

 

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Community Veteran
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Registered: ‎02-08-2007

Re: Not eating.

@Mayfly 

Private physio would be out of the question in this case due to cost.

Personally I think keeping people in hospital when they are fit to go home can lead to them getting depressed.

Fortunately I have only been in hospital for several short periods during my life, nothing serious, appendix etc but could not wait to get out of the place.

On one occassion was told the doctor needs to see you before  being discharged....he arrived at 10pm.....yes you can go home but get someone to pick you up in the morning.....no chance of me staying another night...phoned the wife...come and get me now which she did.......no place like your own bed and home environment.

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Community Veteran
Posts: 10,063
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Registered: ‎02-08-2007

Re: Not eating.

Perhaps a increasing number of professional staff, Doctors, nurses etc are going into private practice, less bureaucracy, more money and  flexible hours.....amazing anyone is still working in the NHS.

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Re: Not eating.

@gleneagles  yes it is expensive but considering he was walking 5 miles a day immediately before his hospitalisation and I knew he could do it, waiting another 4mths on top of the 12 weeks he already spent in bed I felt it money well spent. It has made a world of difference to me not having to hoist him to transfer from bed to chair, let alone it has changed and encouraged what he can do for himself now.

Discharge was a joke too. OH was sat in the discharge lounge for 11 hrs he finally got home at 11.40pm.

I hope the community physio department is better equipped in your area.