London, Jan 13 (IANS) The lives of thousands of elderly patients in British hospitals are being saved just by giving them an extra meal a day, health experts revealed on Sunday.
A pilot scheme backed by the National Health Service (NHS) says giving elderly patients an extra meal a day halves their chances of dying in hospital, reports Xinhua news agency.
Results have revealed that death rates among those admitted with hip fractures have plummeted since the scheme was introduced two years ago at a number of hospitals, prompting medical chiefs to consider recommending it nationally.
The Sunday Telegraph reports that experts behind the programme say older patients are failing to consume enough nutrients while convalescing on geriatric wards.
They believe this contributes to the toll of more than 4,000 elderly people who die within a month of being admitted for a hip fracture each year.
Five hospitals in England and one in Scotland introduced dedicated nutritional advisors who personally source the extra meal and sit with patients while it is eaten. They say the measure has coincided with a mortality drop from 11 to 5.5 percent.
Medics say the extra calories, plus the morale boost afforded by not eating alone, is making the difference between surviving traumatic breaks or not, according to the report.