Behind the Rituals
All posts from: October 2012
Is there an “informal” age limit on surgical interventions?
Thousands of older patients are dying because they are being denied treatment on the grounds of their age, according to a report by the Royal College of Surgeons, Age UK and MHP Health Mandate.
The authors of the report suggests doctors are looking at people’s age to assess whether they are suitable for treatment, instead of their overall wellbeing and fitness.
The RCS suggested the NHS £20bn efficiency drive also puts older patients at a “heightened risk” of age discrimination because restrictions may be imposed when healthcare workers balance the cost of treatment against the patient’s life expectancy.
The report comes after new legislation prevents age discrimination within the health service.
If a patient is denied drugs or treatment on the grounds of age they can now take legal action against healthcare providers.
- Older people warning against surgery age limits, Nursing Times
Will new DH standards for hospital food improve patient nutrition?
Some hospitals are failing to provide patients with high quality and healthy meals, the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt warned last week.
Jeremy Hunt said that while some organisations were delivering decent food and drink for patients, others are “falling short”.
In a move to crack down on inadequate hospital catering, Mr Hunt announced a set of standards to ensure that patients receive nutritious and appetising food throughout their hospital stay.
Teams of inspectors, half of whom will be patients, will examine the taste, quality and temperature of food as well as the cleanliness of ward kitchens.
The fundamental food principles are:
- Nutritious and appetising hospital food and drink is an essential part of the personal package of care and hospitals should take all reasonable steps to ensure that patients have a healthy food experience;
- All patients should be able to choose from a reasonably varied menu that meets their social and religious needs whilst complementing their clinical care requirements;
- All patients should have access at all times to fresh drinking water, unless this is contraindicated by their clinical condition;
- Access to food and drink outside planned mealtimes should be available where appropriate;
- Hospitals should promote a healthy diet to their staff and visitors;
- The criteria set out in the Government Buying Standards for Food should be adopted as standard where practical and supported by procurement practices;
- Hospitals should regularly evaluate their food services and act on feedback from patients, demonstrating improvement and aiming to achieve and maintain excellence; and
- Commissioners of NHS-funded care should seek and reward excellence in hospital food when contracting services.
- Guidance on hospital food revealed, Nursing Times
How can we use technology to improve patient care?
The government is to spend £140m technology and leadership training for nurses and midwives in order to “improve care and beat bureaucracy”.
The government said £100m would be offered to the NHS for nurses and midwives to spend on new technology intended to “free up time for patient care and help make essential patient details instantly available on the ward, at the bedside or in the community”.
Technology highlighted included digital pens and other handheld mobile devices intended to speed up access to patient and treatment information, while reducing time spent on form filling.
Nurses and midwives will decide “what kit is best for their own workplace”, the government said.
What technology would help you provide better patient care?
Should a nurse always be present on a doctors’ ward round?
The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) have suggested there has been a gradual erosion of “good ward rounds” and have launched new guidance to ensure that there is a standard of practice across all hospitals. The quality of rounds must improve to ensure that patients are seen as people and not conditions, they said.
When are you most at risk of needle stick injury?
An article in this week’s issue of Nursing Times suggests that strategies to prevent NSI frequently focus on blood collection and cannulation devices and fail to include needles used for injecting into tissue, for example intramuscular injections.
These devices are commonly associated with needle stick injury yet healthcare organisations are less likely to provide safety engineered devices for these procedures compared with those used for blood collection.