Elderly in Scottish hospitals need to be treated with greater dignity, study says
OLDER people in Scotland’s hospitals need to be treated with greater compassion, dignity and respect - a major study by a health watchdog has concluded.
• Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) report demands that doctors and nurses do more to make care more ‘patient-centred’
• Some staff members ‘did not always consider the patient’s privacy and dignity’, according to the report
• Dementia-friendly wards under scrutiny over cafe of patients with condition
Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) has demanded doctors and nurses do more to make the care more “patient-centred”. It also called for staff to stop using inappropriate langauge when talking about older patients in their wards.
In its first six-monthly report into standards of acute care of the elderly the watchdog highlighted several areas of improvement needed in hospitals across the country following a series of announced and unannounced visits to eight hospitals between February and July this year
Ian Smith, HIS acting chief inspector, said: “We identified a number of areas for improvement. In some instances, staff did not always consider the patient’s privacy and dignity when discussing personal issues and what was wrong with them at the patient’s bedside.
“We also found that patients were not always screened to assess their nutritional needs when they are admitted to hospital. We will continue to work with NHS boards to ensure that our inspections contribute to improvements in the care of older people in acute hospitals.”
The report, published earlier today, said: “Staff did not always consider the patient’s privacy and dignity when discussing personal issues and what was wrong with them at the patient’s bedside.
“We heard some staff using inappropriate language when talking about older people in hospitals We also found that assessment and care planning were not always patient-centred or effective.”
The report also highlighted how in six of the eight hospitals visited inspectors found older patients treated in Accident and Emergency wards or admitted to hospital were not assessed for cognitive impairment, which they should be.
And in half of the hospitals patients were not always screened on their individual nutritional needs, which can prevent malnutrition in the elderly.
Inspectors also looked at how dementia-friendly wards were across the country and found many patients with the condition did not always have access to a range of activities to keep them active. There were also concerns about the lack of systems in place to monitor the number of bed or ward moves which dementia patients had to endure.
Scottish Conservative health spokesman Jackson Carlaw said: “It will be of huge concern to families that an elderly loved one may not be receiving the correct nutrition in hospital, and indeed that their dignity is not being prioritised.
“With the number of elderly people in Scotland on a steady increase, this is something that has to be sorted out now.”
HIS, which carried out the inspections for the Scottish Governement, said despite identifying several areas of improvement that inspectors found in most cases staff were treating older patients well and providing excellent care. It said patients and their family members who were interviewed by inspectors, in general, were satisfied with the way older people were being treated.
HIS will continue to carry out inspections at various hospital in order to esnure older patients, including those with dementia, were being cared for with respect and dignity, it said.
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Thursday 20 June 2013
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