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Not eating and GP won't prescribe food suppliment


Registered User
Nov 10, 2015
Has anyone else experienced this situation or similar. My LO is 89 and was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2014. She had recently moved to a new care home.

Prior to the onset of dementia my LO loved her food and was a cook and quite large. But since dementia really set in she no longer likes food and will hardly touch it. She may take the odd mouthful only under pressure by carers or nurses prompting. But does drink large quantities of milk.

I asked her new GP via the Care Home to prescribe a drink supplement such as Ensure or Complan the SW also requested this via the care home.

She lost about 5 stone since before she had Alzheimers' but the weight remains stable for the last 3 yeast although she is still about 20lb over weight due to under active thyroid.

The response back was no they would not prescribe it and told me via care home that I could buy vitamin pills from the chemist.

Also not long ago when I chased the care home up for not applying her bandages for her Lymphoedemas the nurse at the home said that she had spoken to the GP and he said you can buy the bandages yourself at the chemist.

I have no choice but to use this GP for my mother as the GP goes with the care home.

I think that this is appalling, my LO needs these things due medical conditions and her income is £24.90 per week as of course the LA takes the rest of her pension.

I am complaining about this but has anyone experienced similar?



Registered User
Mar 25, 2016
Was your Mum prescribed the nutritional supplement / bandages at her previous care home?

I don't have experience of bandages but my Mum lost quite a lot of weight when over-sedated in hospital and they gave her 3 Fortisip drinks a day plus Calogen. When she was discharged the CHC nurse assessor asked the home to speak to the dietician to ensure that Mum still got the drinks. Three months later I was informed by the home that the dietician had said that as Mum was eating well and her weight was stable the drinks weren't required, even though she is still underweight. I spoke to the GP and he wouldn't prescribe any drinks without the dietician's say so. I think cost is a factor too.

If your Mum is overweight and her weight has been stable for a long time then that's probably why the GP won't prescribe the drinks but if you are concerned it might be worth asking for a referral to the dietician.

I would have thought that the home would provide something as essential as bandages though if they are necessary.


Registered User
Aug 24, 2013
In the home my wife's in it all comes on prescription, food supplements, medical needs like bandages, the staff can't even give paracetamol without it being on prescription in theory.
I don't know if it's that my wife's in an EMI nursing home rather than a care home makes a difference, but I can see why asking for food supplement for someone who's 20lbs overweight may be seen as unnecessary, 20lbs underweight maybe but food supplements for someone who's overweight might not be seen as in the patient's best interests.


Registered User
Feb 27, 2018
I suspect there are rules about when the GP will prescribe drink supplements. Your mother is getting liquids and some nutrition from the milk and as she is still overweight and her weight is stable, they don't believe she needs them. My mother was prescribed Ensure for a short period after an operation when she was reluctant to eat or drink - but she was already underweight and continuing to lose.


Registered User
Nov 10, 2015
Thank you for all you replies and suggestions. I now have appointments booked for both the Dietician and Dermatology at the hospital for a referral to the Lyphoedema clinic. I do tend to worry these things but it helps to get opinions back on this forum.


Registered User
Aug 29, 2007
SW London
I should imagine the fact of your mum being 20 lb overweight is the reason the GP won't prescribe supplements, particularly since she is drinking a lot of milk, which is effectively a liquid food. If she were underweight and barely taking anything of nutritional value, that would be a different matter.


Registered User
Nov 10, 2015
I am not altogether convinced about that as at least half that extra weight if not more will be due to her very swollen legs and feet due to the Lymphoedemas, and the NHS website recommends good nutrition to be part of the treatment. If your diet is almost entirely milk I would not have thought that was a balanced diet.


Registered User
Jan 5, 2014
I think the majority of PWD do not eat a balanced diet, and once dementia is in the mix all that matters is that they eat.

As Witzend says, Milk is a liquid food. It is relatively nutritious, particularly if it is full fat, babies and young children seem to do OK on it. It contains protein, carbs and if full fat or semi skimmed, fat, the fat itself is a very good source of vitamins, which is the reason it is recommended that children under a certain age are given full fat milk.

If her weight is stable I don't think the NHS are likely to prescribe food supplements, these are only used for those who are severely underweight.


Registered User
Nov 10, 2015
Thank you Witzend and Juggingmum. I take on board what you have said and I do feel differently about it now as I can see the sense in your comments. I do wish that the Care Home nurse or the GP had taken a couple of minutes to just explain it as you have, it would have put my mind at rest. Instead I just felt that they were telling me we won't spend any money on supplements for your mother you can just buy them yourself, which is more or less what they told me. But just a bit of reassurance that I didn't need to worry so much about it and pointed out what you have would have taken a lot of the stress away.
So again, I am very glad that we have this discussion board.

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