Tania Burchardt and Polly Vizard
Published 16 July 2015
The report uses the Adult Inpatient Survey 2012 to build up an in-depth quantitative evidence base on older people's experiences of dignity and nutrition during hospital stays in England. We find that just under one-quarter (23%) of inpatients reported that they were not treated with dignity and respect, or were only sometimes treated with dignity and respect during their hospital stay. We estimate that this is equivalent to around 2.8 million people on an annual basis - of whom about 1 million are aged 65 or over. Inconsistent and poor standards of help with eating during hospital stays were also a key concern. In 2012, about a quarter of all survey respondents indicated that they needed support with eating during their hospital stay. This is a substantial proportion and points towards the issue of support with eating being a major issue for significant numbers of inpatients - just under three and a half million each year - rather than being a marginal or specialist issue. Of those who needed help with eating, more than 1 in 3 (38%) reported that they only sometimes received enough help with eating from staff, or did not receive enough help from staff. We estimate that this is equivalent to around 1.3 million people on an annual basis, of whom about 640,000 are aged 65 or over. Logistic regression analysis suggests that, after other factors are controlled for, the risk of not being helped with eating is significantly higher for women rather than men and for individuals who experience a longstanding limiting illness or disability such as deafness or blindness, a physical condition, a mental health condition or a learning difficulty, or a longstanding illness such as heart disease, stroke or cancer.