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Frequent patient checks bring improvements at Mid Staffs

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Regular patient comfort rounds are improving patient care and reducing slips, trips and falls at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust, its director of nursing has said.

Julie Hendry, who joined the troubled trust in November 2009, has introduced comfort checks every two hours where patients are asked five questions: Are you in pain? Are you comfortable? Can I help you change your position? Can I take you to the toilet? Can I get you a drink? Is there anything else?

The questions were developed based on the most frequent areas of complaint.

Speaking at the NHS Confederation conference, Ms Hendry said: “We have seen a fall in slips, trips and falls.”

Studies have shown regular patient checks, or intentional rounding, can reduce the use of call buzzers and pressure ulcers, as well as increasing patient satisfaction.

Ms Hendry, who has been a nurse for 34 years, said she responded to a backlog of 320 complaints in three months after she started work at the trust.

She told delegates she had got rid of phrases from the responses like “I’m sorry if you feel like that” which only added to complainants’ distress.

Ms Hendry said she kept afternoons free to either work on the wards or meet with patient and community groups to get feedback.

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