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Being fed against beliefs in care home?

(30 Posts)
yasatvforlife Tue 04-Feb-20 17:23:01

Hi everyone,

I work for a charity called V for Life and we are currently running an inquiry in Parliament.

It's come to our attention that many people are fed against their beliefs when they're in care homes (and even in hospitals). Most commonly, this is vegetarians and vegans, but it also includes people with religious beliefs who would not eat particular foods due to their beliefs.

We have collected quite a lot of evidence and stories of individuals who have had family in care and their loved ones are being fed food they would have never eaten or fundamentally disagree with. We have also had stories come in of people who have worked in care and have been told to feed people with dementia things because they 'won't know any better'.

I'd love if anyone who has experienced this or anything along these lines would get in touch by commenting below their stories. I think it's so important that people are treated with dignity and respect for their beliefs when they are are having to hold onto their identity the best they can. Thank you all!

Saxifrage Tue 04-Feb-20 18:27:59

If you feed coeliacs gluten products it can make them very ill or suffer days of pain. I would be interested if this is included in your research and of course things like nut allergy. In my experience normal hospital wards are not particularly good.

welbeck Tue 04-Feb-20 18:38:16

I know of one hospital, more like an elderly care unit, where the nurses feely told us that the pudding fools were not vegetarian despite the printed sheet for ordering each meal stating that they were.
I tried to raise this with the catering firm, but they were not interested, and I had other things to attend to.
I think this sort of thing is commonplace. patients/families are too worried about their own situation to make a fuss, if they try to speak to someone its usually a catering assistant who barely speaks English, and has no influence on the matter.
nursing staff are v busy and otherwise occupied.
no one has time to pursue it.
we aonly found out when the nurse offered us some yogurts left in the fridge by a hindu family as they could not eat the supplied puddings. it was the mis-labelling that bothered me. no one seemed to care. very small potatoes, excuse the pun, compared with other concerns.

Dec46 Tue 04-Feb-20 19:29:30

It seems like a form of abuse to me that this should happen. It is taking away freedom of choice and completely disregarding patients/residents reasonable request that their beliefs be respected.

MissAdventure Tue 04-Feb-20 19:32:46

I saw this kind of thing years ago, but not in recent years.

It's something that should never, ever happen.

(I know a nursery school that flouts all its so-called values, though)

Happygirl79 Tue 04-Feb-20 20:28:31

We seem to treat our elderly people badly in this country
My father in law was in hospital for weeks and no one fed him. The meals were placed on a tray which was not in reach then taken away without being touched
We ended up having to be there to feed him at every meal
Their response was they didn't have time to feed him and he was far to fragile and ill to feed himself
He died after 5 weeks in hospital

gillybob Tue 04-Feb-20 21:46:14

OMG I have seen this recently Happygirl.

Dinners plonked in front of elderly patients and then taken away untouched . My own DH would have starved in hospital if I hadn’t been in the position to feed him. angry

MissAdventure Tue 04-Feb-20 22:00:32

I've seen it many times, along with other sub standard treatment.

gillybob Tue 04-Feb-20 22:10:56

Well this is going to be controversial but her goes....

My DH has been in and out (mainly in) of hospital for the last 3 months and while he was on the ICU I saw the very best of nursing care.

Sadly on the wards I have seen the very worst . Nothing to do with staffing levels and everything to do with the wrong people being in the job roles. Sorry.

gillybob Tue 04-Feb-20 22:11:26

Here goes, sorry . I can’t get much right these days.

annep1 Tue 04-Feb-20 22:34:48

That must be very difficult for you Gillybobflowers

Jennist Tue 04-Feb-20 22:51:52

So sorry for Happy Girls experience. To sum up , nothing is changing. Having the same experience with my husband's care in the NHS and a care home, I would like to see a movement to change this culture.
Money would help but better organisation and empathy would be a start.
I have seen instances where even common decency was not observed.
Too many stories over the years, no action !!

pinkquartz Tue 04-Feb-20 22:58:37

I don't understand how the nurses/hospitals ares still getting away with not actually feeding patients.

I have heard about this for many years from a friend who was a HCA at a large hospital in Bristol.
Why hasn't there been some kind of legal case for neglect, which is what it is .

Surely even a busy nurse can see that a person needs food?
I understand that the new type of nurse lacks compassion but surely they still have common sense.
I am horrified.

The same was true for my Dad and he had to have a relative there every meal time also .

pinkquartz Tue 04-Feb-20 22:59:22

If nothing else why don't they advertise for volunteers to do this common decency?

Summerlove Tue 04-Feb-20 23:05:16

I understand that the new type of nurse lacks compassion but surely they still have common sense.

It’s not a lack of compassion, it’s a lack of time!

Re volunteers: not many people want to volunteer for the abuse hospital staff receive. Especially for free!

Nezumi65 Wed 05-Feb-20 07:08:05

It’s completely unacceptable & symptomatic of a care culture that doesn’t give a damn about the well-being of the person cared for. The issues run from commissioners who don’t commission enough staff to feed people at their pace through to care home staff who don’t see the person in front of them as quite fully humans.

And not all care homes are like this - often depends on the management because they set the culture & define what is acceptable.

Hetty58 Wed 05-Feb-20 07:25:54

It's what you get with under-funding and short-staffing. There's no time for decent care when everything is cut to the bone. People find out, too late, what they voted for!

Nezumi65 Wed 05-Feb-20 07:49:21

And people don’t even realise it comes ultimately from who is in government Hetty. They think it’s the same whoever is setting the policy. Having been caring for a severely disabled family member for decades I can confirm it is not.

gillybob Wed 05-Feb-20 09:15:13

I’m not sure it is really just about under funding or short staffing though Hetty . From my recent experience it seems more about some people becoming nurses that don’t have a caring, compassionate bone in their body .

Not saying “all” before anyone jumps down my throat . There are some excellent nurses and some absolutely terrible ones. I suppose like in all walks of life and all job roles.

eazybee Wed 05-Feb-20 09:34:04

A lot to do with degree qualifications; some nurses, only some, regard many basic nursing tasks as beneath them.

The hospitals I attended recently, were overstaffed, not just my opinion.

gillybob Wed 05-Feb-20 09:44:10

I tend to agree eazybee .

Nezumi65 Wed 05-Feb-20 09:55:35

Nursing has changed as a role though. A lot of traditional nursing jobs are now carried out by health care assistants. And that is reflected in training which may be task based rather than compassion based (I don’t know, but knowing how the NHS works in other areas that is my guess).

I don’t think this is a good thing btw - I think the loss of compassion in the NHS - where staff can be penalised for being compassionate because it ‘wastes time’ is awful, but I think the idea now is that nurses administer drugs and do medical things while feeding and care and compassion is meant to come from (overworked, underpaid) health care assistants

Granny23 Wed 05-Feb-20 10:08:44

Having had little contact with NHS Scotland for most of my life, I have been making up for it this past year. With DH's Dementia, my Broken Arm and my Dsis' Breast Lump we have been in and out of ED, hospitals, care home, physio and had carers coming into my home. I cannot fault any of them. As one of the carers said to me - "It is a vocation, we are certainly not in it for the money.

In my DH's Care Home there are two choices at each meal, + specials for individuals who have difficulty eating or special dietary preferences or allergies. These are listed in the Kitchen and in the 8 person units. I realise that this would be difficult in a larger establishment (DH's Care Home has 40 residents in 5 Units) or in large Hospitals where patients come and go unlike Care Homes where there is continuity of care and a personal relationship with each resident.

annsixty Wed 05-Feb-20 10:26:36

When my H was in hospital last year for nearly 5 weeks ( he died there) the only time I saw a nurse was when I sought one out to ask a question or to mildly complain.
HCA’ S did everything to the best of their ability, which in some cases was pretty poor.
I went in to feed him at lunchtime and my GD went in as often as she could in the evening.
My H hardly ate but we tried, he was past food by then.
My GD heard one point to my H and say he refuses to eat, if I had been there I would have reported her.
I also saw a patient given two large meals which he ate greedily, he had dementia, another HCA came and saw what had happened and rushed off as he was diabetic and had a special diet.
I wasn’t filled with confidence.

trisher Wed 05-Feb-20 10:35:06

My mother was a patient in hospital at 93 she had all her faculties and held many conversations about her lactose intolerance. In spite of it being written in her notes, a meeting with the dietician and all the staff she was still presented with foods that had a dairy content. It seemed that communication between the staff and the kitchens sometimes failed massively. When she was given dairy free her choice was sometimes severly restricted. As she was losing weight and disliked the drink supplements she was given to help her I finished up taking her a lunch in each day. It wasn't a major intolerance but I would imagine trying to get vegan or even vegetarian meals would be similarly difficult.