• We're currently experiencing technical issues with our newsletter software, so our Dementia Talking Point monthly updates have been put on hold for now. We hope to restart the newsletter soon.

    Find out more >here<.

poor hospital treatment


Registered User
Dec 1, 2008
My dad passed away in May in hospital as a result of dementia. I was shocked at the attitude of health professionals. They seemed to think that he wasn't worth helping. He was denied food because they said he would choke on it and we had to watch him get weaker and weaker over a period of 4 weeks. It was obvious they would not let him get out of it. He was also denied any form of water for the last 4 days of his life. I think an animal would have been treated better. My dad relied on rivastigmine, couldn't function without it and it took the hospital 2 weeks before they got in on a patch for him. There seemed to be a real lack of understanding about his condition. I felt he would have been better off at home, but we had sent him into respite care because I had got sick and couldn't look after him. Has anyone else had a similar bad experience with hospitals? I was wondering if this is a common way to treat people with Alzheimers?
i just wish I hadn't been trying to do too much, coping with a full-time job and taking over from mum and looking after him when I got home.

Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
NW England
Dear Marie, mum's terrible experience with a hospital has been well documented here ....(won't bore you with links unless you really want them!) .....I so empathise with this .....

Aside from consent issues which sparked my absolute fury ...... Mum was declared 'Nil by mouth' by a hospital - the medics said there was a risk of choking (Mum's cancer contributed to her swallowing difficulties) ...... I still feel angered they were scared she might die on 'their premises' (she might have been a statistic to them ... grrrr) ...... I also witnessed so many other patients on her ward (geriatric so surely the medical staff should have been well aware of dementia issues - mum surely couldn't have been the first dementia patient they had ever nursed????) being discharged to NH care ... I was told it was about 'acute needs'. Acute needs I now gather are clinical issues. There was no account taken of mum's quality of life, mental health and needs for palliative care - thank Goodness she was discharged for hospice assessment and subsequent NH care even though that went against our every previous wish to keep her at home ..

I think there are lots of stories been related on TP about the consequences of dementia patients being hospitalised ...... there is a huge 'education' issue out there for medical and nursing staff .....

Marie you sound full of regrets ...please don't be. There is probably little you could have changed .... but feeling 'robbed' by the professionals we put our trust in, I know hurts on top of the grief ......:(

Love, Karen, x


Registered User
Oct 15, 2007
Hi there

Thanks for posting this, my Dad died last December and it was exactly the same I'm afraid. We were told he couldnt swallow (we were never told why this was etc or what to expect), then he could not be fed through the tube because he was pulling it out and then he was basically starved and yes no water ....it was soo horrific that I sit here now crying just thinking how barbaric it was and how frighted he must have been. I know something it has made me terrified of hospitals or getting ill and of the feeling that you suddenly become worthless. Why oh why can't we have the right to die with dignity in this country. My Dad was starved and dehydrated to death basically...wouldnt an injection have been kinder at least we could have all been there and said our goodbyes to him.

Anyway my love and hugs to you.



Registered User
Jun 4, 2005
Bad hospitals

It sounds all to familiar,see my post about bed sides,the first thing the hospital did was to change her medication,aricept had been working well for her,Anna went into hospital because she collapsed at dinner,I called for an ambulance to pick her up,the worst thing I ever did,I was told that she had "Honk" her blood pressure was to high,they experimented with her,got as low as 4,then it went up to 18! Her food was delivered by an auxilliary,left on her bed side table,then taken away again an hour later- uneaten!I then made it a point to be there at meal times,a consultant had said she was dehydrated,but when I asked a nurse to refill her empty water jug she replied"That's not my job"This happened last Christmas,Anna died one week after her 74th birthday,I console myself by thinking that it was a merciful release for her.but I still wish I could have brought her home,I am a registered disabled pensioner,and I feel that I could not have done any worse for her than the way she was treated in that hospital.I feel vey Guilty and feel that I let her down,I hope she will forgive me when we meet again


Registered User
Sep 27, 2006
Twelve years ago my lovely, kind, dad died in very similar circumstances. Although not a well man physically, he had full mental capacity and had a sudden, massive stroke. We were told in A & E that he could not breath by himself and they advised removing the breathing tubes and that he would not be able to breath by himself. He did breath.

He was moved to a ward. My brother and I fought to have him intubated and fed after a full week of him being given nothing. This was done and he slowly improved despite the doctor's telling us he would not. He began to respond to us and to try to open his eyes. Throughout all of this my mother who was very afraid of him being sent home as a severe invalid was telling both doctors and nurses that she didn't want him to have any treatment. This stand off lasted a few days with my brother and I insisting that he continue to be treated and my mother telling the staff she did not want this.

I arrived at his bedside the night before he died to find that all tubes, intravenous drips, oxygen masks had been removed. I asked why and was told that he did not need them any more. He died at 3a.m the following morning.

It would seem that when you are old, you lose the rights which would automatically be given to a younger person. The doctors and nurses had decided that my father was not worth being given the chance to get better. Sadly my mum thought the same.

It has taken me many years to forgive my mother for not helping us to fight for him. As my brother and I were not considered the next of kin, we had no say in the matter.

Last edited:


Registered User
Aug 10, 2008
My Dad has just been discharged from hospital to another nursing home. The hospital said he is medically fit to be discharged but within a few hours of being in the nursing home they called his GP to check his chest as he sounds very chesty, I am worried now that he shouldn't have been discharged.

He was in hospital because he had a urine and chest infection which he got in his previous nursing home. The consultant in the hospital said he had severe dehydration and malnutrition caused by the nursing home.

I don't know if I have done the right thing in sending him to a new nursing home as first impressions, this one doesnt seem much better and he is so weak. He doesnt seem to have any energy to eat. I have 2 brothers but one is uninterested in giving me any help or opinions and the other one is always disagreeing with my decisions but makes none himself, just complains about everything I do.

I know what you have gone through


Registered User
Mar 23, 2008
It makes me feel so sad to read these stories about how dementia people are treated in hospital especially in the final stage of their life and it makes me realise that I will never be able to erase the memory of mum's last week-end in hospital.
When she was admitted Friday morning I was informed that she had either suffered a massive stroke or the cancer had reached the brain - either way there was nothing they could do and she would probably die within the next few hours. I could handle that but she hung on till Sunday afternoon and I ended up sponging her down and moistening her lips with the small sponges as they were so dry and it was upsetting me as I felt that she was suffering. They said they couldn't put her on a drip as it might hasten things due to the fluid but they didn't seem to realise that the longer she hung on the more distressing it became for me. If she was going to die then why prolong it?
They also introduced me to something called the Liverpool Pathway - what the hell was that all about? Just somebody telling me that my mum was going to die before the week-end was over and did I want her to have the last rites! If I had known what her last week-end in hospital would have been like then I know that I would have fought harder for her to have been left at home.
It seems as though some hospitals are sadly lacking in training for the last stages of a person's life and I sincerely hope that it never happens to me and my family have to go through the same things that I did with Mum.
Love Liz xx


Registered User
Jul 22, 2008
So awful

From what I have read it all seems so cruel, my friends mother (suffered AD) died in residential care, she says that her mother died of starvation, she says that they would leave her drink and not help her to drink it saying 'Oh she doesnt want it', my friend says that she would help her mother by holding the beaker to her lips and slowly she could drink something.
It all so scary, I couldnt bear to see my Dad treated in that way, but it looks as though he will be.
I dont know how you managed to get through it all.