There is only “flimsy” evidence to support the benefit of introducing hourly ward wards, despite their backing by the prime minister, a nurse academic has claimed.
The government’s initial response to the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust Public Inquiry report, published week stated that the majority of NHS hospitals in England have introduced hour by hour nursing rounds on their wards.
It added that targeted action plans for the new national nursing strategy, Compassion in Practice, will urge the remaining hospitals to do so within a year. In addition, it said nursing rounds would be one of the “well-established practices that benefit patients”, which will be the focus of a new hospital inspection regime.
Intentional rounding by nurses has also been championed by David Cameron who called for their wider uptake in January last year when he set up the Nursing and Care Quality Forum.
But Paul Snelling, a senior lecturer in adult nursing at the University of the West of England, claimed the intervention was based on “weak and inconclusive” evidence.
After carrying out a research review, Mr Snelling said the study that provided the most influential evidence in favour of intentional rounding was “flawed” because two of its authors worked for a US private healthcare company that sold DVDs promoting intentional rounding.
He also said “caution should be exercised” over suggestions that intentional rounding cut falls due to “mixed” and that there did “not appear to be a single good quality study” to support claims that it reduced pressure sores.
But a Department of Health spokeswoman said regular nursing rounds have a “key role to play in care in the NHS”.
“They systematically check that patients are comfortable, are helped to eat and drink, are treated with dignity and respect and have confidence that they can talk to staff on a regular basis about their care and concerns,” she said.
“Hospitals that have put these rounds in place have reported healthy reductions in the number of patient complaints and significant improvements in patient satisfaction levels,” she added.
- Nursing Ethics (2013) 26 March, Snelling et al
- Nursing Times, Opinion: “Rounding is an evidence-free idea driven by political whim”
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