Hundreds have died of dehydration in care homes

Neglect levels in Britain's care homes were described as "scandalous" today after it emerged that more than 650 elderly residents have died of dehydration in the past five years.

Figures also revealed that 157 vulnerable pensioners died of malnutrition in the same period, while nearly 2,000 passed away from superbugs Clostridium difficile and MRSA.

It is feared the totals may be higher because care home residents who die in hospital are not included in the statistics.

Commenting on the figures, Neil Duncan-Jordan of the National Pensioners Convention, said: "The fact that people are dying from these sorts of causes is absolutely shocking in the 21st century."

The Office for National Statistics compiled the figures after analysing death certificates of care home residents in England and Wales between 2005 and 2009. The totals cover both underlying causes of death and contributory factors.

Analysts found there were 667 victims of dehydration, 157 of malnutrition and 1,928 deaths linked to superbugs.

Some 1,446 died suffering with pressure ulcers, otherwise know as bedsores, while 4,866 died with septicaemia, or blood poisoning. Another 4,881 had fatal falls.

According to the figures, the number of deaths linked to dehydration doubled, while those involving superbugs rose sevenfold during the previous Labour government's rule.

Speaking in The Daily Mail, Mr Duncan-Jordan added: "What it shows is that a significant number of older people in our care homes are getting substandard, third-rate attention. Yet the cost of staying in a care home is huge - the average is between £600 and £800 a week.

"And yet for that, no one helps you eat your meals, no one ensures you are properly turned in bed, and no one makes sure you have had enough to drink.

"All of us would want higher standards of service for £800 a week.

"These people in our care homes will have seen a lot in their lifetime. For them to be treated in that way is nothing sort of scandalous."

Figures suggest that more than 20,000 people have to sell their homes every year in order pay residential care fees.

Care Services Minister Paul Burstow, said: "It comes as a shock for many that care is not free - and never has been - and without advanced planning it can be very expensive.

"Having sorted out the family finances to pay for care there should at least be the comfort of knowing that their loved one will receive dedicated, expert care.

"But while there are excellent homes it is simply unacceptable that people still die undignified deaths from wholly avoidable causes.

The Liberal Democrat put the present "broken care system" down to the previous Labour government.

"Labour let people down by failing to reform the way we pay for care," he said.

"They kicked it into the long grass for nearly 13 years and failed to deliver a settlement.

"Before this Parliament is over we will have reformed both the law and funding of social care putting in place a firm foundation for a fairer care system."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk