Calls to follow NICE quality standard to improve elderly care
NICE's quality standard for patient experience in adult services should be used across health and social care to improve standards of dignity for the elderly, experts say.
The draft recommendation was made by the Commission on Improving Dignity in Care for Older People, as part of a drive to improve standards in hospitals and care homes across England.
Set up by Age UK, the NHS Confederation and the Local Government Association, the commission found that too many vulnerable people are being let down.
The commission has published 48 draft recommendations which will be consulted on over the next month before a final action plan is published later this summer.
Among them, is the recommendation that the NICE quality standard on patient experience in adult services, which includes dignity, should be used by providers, commissioners and regulators across health and social care to provide a consistent standard by which to define and measure performance.
The commission adds that NHS organisations should be required to include their performance on this quality standard as part of the ‘quality accounts' they now produce.
The NICE quality standard, published last month, outlines ways to improve the quality of the patient experience for adults using NHS services.
It sets out fourteen quality statements including making sure patients are treated with dignity, kindness, compassion, courtesy, respect, understanding and honesty, and ensuring patients are given the opportunity to discuss their health beliefs, concerns and preferences to inform their individualised care.
Other quality statements involve ensuring that patients experience care that is tailored to their needs and personal preferences, and allowing patients to have their physical and psychological needs regularly assessed and addressed, including nutrition, hydration, pain relief, personal hygiene and anxiety.
The quality standard is supported by accompanying clinical guidance on patient experience which sets out evidence based advice for healthcare professionals to help them deliver high quality and dignified care.
The commission adds that a national conversation about the meaning of dignity in care is needed, coordinated by a national body such as NICE, and that every care provider should have a strategy that defines dignity and incorporates a dignity improvement plan.
Christine Carson, Programme Director for the Centre for Clinical Practice at NICE said: "Understanding and improving patient experience of NHS services is essential to providing a service based on patients' needs.
“Ensuring that the NHS is patient centered is crucial. The quality standard and guidance will aid healthcare professionals in delivering the very best experience for patients, right across the NHS."
1 March 2012