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Care homes criticised for poor diet

Nearly half of care homes in Scotland do not meet the national standards for eating, drinking and nutrition, a new report says.

The Scottish Care Commission analysed the inspections of 303 care homes in 2006/07 and found that 49% did not satisfy standards for all the five areas of nutrition that were looked into.

Ten care homes around Scotland were served notices to improve the quality of their nutrition and hydration.

Dehydration emerged as a major concern in the 91 complaints that were received about eating, drinking and nutrition during the period.

While expressing "concern" at the high number of complaints, the report gave several recommendations to help improve nutritional care for older people.

Susan Brimelow, director of the commission's healthcare regulation, said: "People in care homes are among the most vulnerable in our community.

"They depend on the care home and its staff to provide balanced meals and ready access to as much water and other liquids as they need.

"This report aims to make people aware of the standards of good practice we expect all care homes to follow. There is plenty of room to improve."

The report, called titled Eating Well In Care Homes For Older People, said that 51% of the facilities inspected did meet the National Care Standards and that the findings were "generally positive".

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