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NICE issues guidance on patient experience


Nurses should “avoid making assumptions” about patients based on appearance or other personal characteristics, according to latest guidance.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence published guidance last week on patient experience in adult NHS services, covering areas such as communication, shared decision making, nutrition and pain management.

As well as familiar issues, such as not speaking in front of patients and asking them how they would like to be addressed, the guidance calls on nurses and other staff to “ensure that the accent, use of idiom and dialect of both the patient and the healthcare professionals are taken into account when considering communication needs”.

It also advises staff to avoid using jargon, maintain eye contact with the patient – if culturally appropriate – and position themselves at the same level as the patient.

The document includes a section on providing information to patients. When discussing the risks and benefits of treatments or conditions with patients staff are advised to use “absolute” risk rather than “relative” risk – for example, explaining that the risk of an event increases from one in 1,000 to two in 1,000, rather than saying the risk of the event doubles.

They should use “natural frequency”, for example 10 in 100, rather than a percentage.


Readers' comments (6)

  • Anonymous

    Pushing common sense at nurses seems a little insulting.

    But it might make more sense to address 'shared decision making' - it is a very flawed concept.

    Many things require discussion between different parties before a decision is made, but the actual decision almost invariably devolves to a single individual. Sometimes that will be a clinician, sometimes it is a patient, and at other times it is whoever happens to be faced with a decision to make.

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  • stuff all this written stuff and theory and give kids proper education at home and at school. select suitable candidates for professional and vocational training and then give them adequate training in the skills they require for their future careers with sufficient opportunities to develop such skills with guidance, support and supervision. If unsuitable candidates are taken on in the first place no number of written rules and guidelines is going to change their attitude or practice.

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  • tinkerbell

    Anonymous | 27-Feb-2012 10:52 am

    Agree but in the case of

    'Compassion, warmth, respect' some things can't be taught.

    and like you say if they are unsuitable then we're stuck with them like a barnacle.

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  • As my hand grips ever tighter around the handle of the axe, I fear for my computer......

    I really really can't take much more of this dross!

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  • tinkerbell | 27-Feb-2012 1:23 pm

    if you feel acknowledged and respected maybe you just acquire some of them

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  • tinkerbell

    Anonymous | 27-Feb-2012 1:31 pm

    I know exactly how you're feeling, put the axe down, we can talk about this:)

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