City health trust ‘setting an example to others’ when treating elderly

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THE health trust in charge of Sheffield’s adult hospitals has been praised for setting an example to others following an inspection into the care provided for elderly patients.

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was one of the first 12 in the country to be visited by inspectors as part of the Dignity and Nutrition for Older People review, ordered by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley last year.

A report into the findings has now placed the trust - which runs the Northern General, Royal Hallamshire, Weston Park, Jessop Wing and Charles Clifford hospitals - at the forefront of quality care.

Mr Lansley said the trust was “treating patients well and setting an excellent example”.

The inspectors visited two older people’s wards at the Northern General Hospital.

The team, who spoke to seven patients, four relatives and 10 members of staff, found staff were knowledgeable about good practices to ensure patients kept their privacy and dignity, which were put into practice on the wards.

The team also praised the support offered to help people remain as independent as possible along with the clear and full notes which were kept on each patient.

The report said: “People who used the services had their views and experiences taken into account in the way the service was provided to them and had their privacy and dignity respected.

“Patients we spoke to said they had no concerns or complaints about their care or treatment at the hospital.”

The second area of the study, which involved speaking to seven patients and four relatives, looked into meal times and the nutritional value of the food served.

Patients and visitors gave positive feedback about the quality, range and availability of food, and inspectors noted the importance of the ‘protected meal times’ - in place to ensure meals are not interrupted unnecessarily.

However there were some concerns about the differences between the two wards.

On the first ward the meals were served by both ancillary and nursing staff. Patients were offered handwipes and had their tables cleaned before the meal was served, and were given aprons, napkins and assistance if needed.

But on the second ward, where there were only non-qualified staff such as support workers and domestic staff on duty, many of the jobs were missed. Inspectors also highlighted concerns about patients there being rushed into choosing their meal or being given no choice at all.

The report said: “On one ward we saw patients experienced a more organised service led by senior staff, which positively affected the patient experience.”