We are aware some users might find it difficult to log into our site. We are working on this issue and hope to have it resolved shortly.
News

Nurses warn about public health impact of cost of living crisis

Anxiety about looming energy bills is pushing patients to cut back on essentials like heat and laundry – and that’s placing them at added risk, say community nurses

Anxiety about looming energy bills is pushing patients to cut back on essentials like heat and laundry – and that’s placing them at added risk, say community nurses

Community nurses say patients sitting in cold homes, and missing out on taking showers for fear of pushing up their energy bills.

Nurses have expressed increasing concern about the public health impact of rising prices, with one district nurse student in Manchester saying she has seen patients stop using their profile mattresses to save on electricity.

Anxiety about looming energy bills is pushing patients to cut back on essentials like heat and laundry – and that’s placing them at added risk, say community nurses

Picture: iStock

Community nurses say patients sitting in cold homes, and missing out on taking showers for fear of pushing up their energy bills.

Nurses have expressed increasing concern about the public health impact of rising prices, with one district nurse student in Manchester saying she has seen patients stop using their profile mattresses to save on electricity.

Others say patients and families are skipping showers, baths or laundering to save on hot water. And one healthcare assistant even said she had brought clean sheets, food and toiletries on visits in a bid to help.

General practice nurse Rebecca Shearer said on Twitter: ‘I am seeing patients who feel their pain is worse as they are sitting in the cold, too scared to put heating on. Many of them struggled to pay bills before the energy crisis.’

HIV nurse specialist Sarah Barber said that she noticed a rise in food bank voucher requests and many on key metres are anxious about fuel, with stress affecting clients’ mental health.

Patients’ money-saving measures could harm their health

A report by cancer charity Macmillan Cancer Support revealed that a quarter of patients with cancer have been cutting back on food or making fewer hot meals. People are resorting to wearing coats indoors, and one in six have been washing their clothes or bedding less frequently – or not at all.

The charity is warning that such attempts to economise could be harmful, with good levels of nutrition, warmth and hygiene being essential in aiding recovery.

Primary care nurse Helen O’Connell, who founded social enterprise app Treacle, a local directory for services addressing social need in Bradford, said: ‘I’ve had conversations where people are washing less and using their dishwasher or washing machine because of cost concerns.

‘The impact is absolutely going to be huge. For patients who are going hungry or not able to keep themselves warm, it has a huge knock-on effect on everything else. That’s why it is so important they know where to get help as soon as possible.’


In other news

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Unlock full access to RCNi Plus today

Save over 50% on your first three months:

  • Customisable clinical dashboard featuring 200+ topics
  • Unlimited online access to all 10 RCNi Journals including Nursing Standard
  • RCNi Learning featuring 180+ RCN accredited learning modules
  • NMC-compliant RCNi Portfolio to build evidence for revalidation
  • Personalised newsletters tailored to your interests

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs