The Care Quality Commission (CQC) report out today, ‘state of care’, has caused understandable concern and yet many have been reassured, as poorer areas of care have been publicly recognized. The concerns highlighted in the report are not new and have been just beneath the surface for many years. Some related points have already been discussed in the 2020health report on the future of nursing.
Dignity, respect and nutrition were three key themes that were highlighted by the CQC report as needing to be improved.
Improvements are essential, especially with the UK’s ageing population. The underlying infrastructure, which will bring about better care, especially for older patients and those with Dementia, possibly needs to be considered both in the day to day setting and in its’ simplest form.
Improved training and skills base for health care assistants and nurses: this will give them a better understanding and also a better self coping strategy, which is vital when dealing with demanding and emotionally stressful work on a daily basis.
Improved recognition and respect for the importance of care work, so the best people want to work in that sector and the best care is seen as something worthwhile and to be proud of.
Better staffing levels, which will improve staff to patient ratios, resulting in better one to one care and personal interaction. It will also allow for more time, pride and interest in the care they are giving, instead of being over stretched which only allows for minimum input.
Extra staff to assist with meal times and supplementary snacks, will mean patients in the same ward can eat together, even if many need the support of staff to eat.
Increased prescribing of nutritional supplements – e.g high calorie milk shakes , which can be part of, or extra to, regular meals – which will provide better nutrition, promote recovery and potentially reduce re-admissions.
These ideas may seem simplistic, yet working in a hospital on a daily basis, I have seen their importance. Unfortunately all of these are linked to improved funding. In a time of financial constraint and reduced staffing numbers this is difficult.
The majority of staff are already providing good care and improvements must be pursued. What must not happen, is that the already excellent care that is taking place be denigrated. We have to value and appreciate our carers and support them to do an even better job.
Dr. Iseult Roche – blog