Thousands of elderly people are being forced to have tubes fitted so they can be artificially fed if they want to be admitted to a care home, a major report warns today.

There is no evidence that tube feeding prolongs life, and it deprives patients of the pleasure and social contact involved in normal eating and drinking, says a Royal College of Physicians working group which recommends that artificial nutrition should only be used as a last resort.

The report found that many care homes across the country are making it a condition of residence that people, often in the advanced stages of dementia, have a tube fitted into their abdomen.

"This is an invasive procedure with a risk, so it should not be undertaken lightly," said Dr Rodney Burnham, chair of the working group. "One of the concerns we had was that we felt in many places there were cases where this was done without proper thought.

"This is a widespread problem. Many care homes say they will not take a patient until they have had a gastrostomy. There is no reason for them to do that. They should have nursing support."



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8 responses to “Shocker!

  1. Robin

    Hi Penny, it’s a very shocking and disturbing report.What is happening with care in this counrty?In fact the word ‘care’ should be changed. It’s not ‘caring to insisit that resisdents have to have this procedure.It does make me very angry and this could be a start of things to come. If it carry’s on like this what else will they suggest? ( Cringe and shudder)Penny? A well written piece, thanks for blogging it.Hug for Wendell.x

  2. Curiosity

    That is awful! Understandably there may be a rare few cases which warrant it but to make it the ‘norm’ is unthinkable.I have just cancelled Kath’s carers. They look in once a day and do nothing, not even the common human decency to check her food is in date. I found her tea caddy was full of mould and they say they make her tea! It is making my blood boil. Ooops have just deleted a long long rant from this comment…..think I best do a blog about it when the snow is too bad to go out!

  3. Martin

    Hi Penny,We live in a sad, sad world this stuff makes me angry turning people into case cows for these place.

  4. Happy

    Oh Penny, I am speechless at this unthinkable requirement.Lobotomy next.I am so ready to write a post but you have.Link?This must be violation of Geneva Convention or something.TX for post. Didn’t like the contents but appreciate the info.

  5. I to think this is awful and seems to be going backwards .. not forward in meds. and health care. Great blog Pen.Stay warm.

  6. Deb's

    Morning Penny ((hugs))this is not only sad but also annoying on a few levels, I can understand the need for care homes in certain cases when a parent has a condition that requires constant care like dementia and alzheimers etc, but whatever happened to people taking care of their own family, it seems to be altogether to easy to discard our elderly into homes once they are over a certain age limit… the fact that care homes are resorting to forcing tubes on our elderly, whilst it is morally wrong, the sad fact is it may be the only way of ensuring the people that are running these homes just don’t forget to feed the patients/residents, which happens frequently in many of these n hugsdebsxXx

  7. penny

    Deb, in my opinion mankind has taken some giant leaps backwards and I find I get too upset to think about it for any length of time.

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