[A version of this item appears in: Dementia: the Latest Evidence Newsletter (RWHT), Volume 2 Issue 4, November 2011].
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published a summary report about the inadequate standards of care received by older people in hospital. This report summarises findings from 100 unannounced inspections of NHS acute hospitals between March and June 2011.
The main problems observed in hospitals failing to meet the essential standards on dignity, i.e. “respecting and involving people who use services”, are:
- Call bells out of reach and / or not responded to reasonably promptly.
- Speaking to patients in a condescending or dismissive manner.
- Curtains not closed properly when personal care is given to people in bed.
- Insufficient staff (with the right training) to give care.
Regarding Nutrition and Hydration
The main problems observed in hospitals failing to meet the essential standards on nutrition, i.e. “meeting nutritional needs”, are:
- Patients not helped to eat, so struggling (or were physically unable) to eat meals.
- Patients interrupted during meals, or forced to leave food unfinished.
- Patients’ needs not assessed properly, so they didn’t get the care needed; for example, specialist diets.
- Records of food and drink not kept accurately. Progress not monitored.
- Patients left with unclean hands before meals.
Care Quality Commission (2011). Dignity and nutrition inspection programme: national overview. London: Care Quality Commission (CQC), October 13th 2011.
For a comprehensive summary and round-up of press reaction, see also:
NHS Choices, Behind the Headlines. Regulator calls for better care for the elderly. London: NHS Choices, October 13th 2011.