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Drugging our old folk

Elderly patients in care homes across Scotland are being prescribed powerful drugs for long periods of time without proper checks on whether the medication is needed. In some cases, frail patients are being kept on multiple and potentially harmful doses for up to two decades without doctors or staff questioning whether they are necessary. Patients are often kept on a mix of drugs for health problems that may have resolved over time.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Scotland (RPSS) in a report calls for more powers for pharmacists to review patients’ medical records. Pharmacists say they are becoming “increasingly concerned” about patients’ safety.

 Drugs regularly handed out to elderly patients include anti-psychotic medicines for dementia. These are classed as high-risk because of their links to heart problems and strokes, yet some patients remain on these far longer than is required. Other drugs could be causing …

Old and Forgotten - and Starving

The Scotsman reports more than 750,000 pensioners risk being left to starve in British hospitals because they are not properly fed . Age Concern said elderly patients were often abandoned with nothing to eat or given the wrong kind of food. It claimed some patients were too weak to feed themselves and in other cases food was out of their reach .

Gordon Lishman, Age Concern director-general, said: "The reality for many older patients is that they are at risk of malnutrition while they are in hospital...The prevalence of malnutrition in older patients is a disgrace. Being denied basic care should not be something which is overlooked on any ward. It puts health at risk and means longer stays in hospital."

Pauline Ford at the Royal College of Nursing said: "It's unacceptable if elderly patients are not getting the help they need to eat and drink."

The Scotsman previously reported death rates from malnutrition in Scotland continue to rise, with 105 death certificates…