Ireland's Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) has spoken out to emphasise the importance of good respite care for the elderly.
Mary Bradley, the party's spokesperson on the elderly, has said that worrying reports of malnutrition in public hospitals could be resolved if more encouragement and help were given to those who struggle to feed themselves.
Speaking about post-operative care currently available on NHS wards, she cited Age Concern as a body concerned that some elderly people in hospitals do not get the care that they need.
"Organisations like Age Concern are taking the danger very seriously. It is truly shocking to learn that it is possible for people to die from malnutrition while they are in hospital," said Ms Bradley.
"Patients at risk need to have their weight monitored at regular intervals so that appropriate interventions can be made in good time to give them the help with meals that they need."
She suggested that the response should be systematic, with those further up the chain of command held responsible for patient weight loss or gain.