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Quality Mark programme shows benefits for older patients and staff

Clinical audit finds improvements in nutrition, dignity and access to staff

Nursing Older PeoplePatients reported better experiences when it came to their nutrition and access to staff under a programme to improve care on older people’s wards, a clinical audit has shown.

Writing in the March 2015 issue of Nursing Older People, Rob Chaplin and colleagues describe work to assess the benefits of acute care wards participating in the Quality Mark for Elder-Friendly Hospital Wards programme.

Launched by the Royal College of Psychiatrists with support from organisations that included the RCN and Age UK, the programme has been developed to assess care and support improvement using feedback from staff and older patients.

An audit was conducted to assess the effect of the programme on the quality of acute care received by older patients by comparing the experiences of staff and older adults before and after its implementation.

Data from 31 wards in 12 acute hospitals were collected over two stages. Patients and staff completed questionnaires on the perceived quality of care on the ward. Patients rated improved experiences of nutrition, staff availability and dignity.

Staff received an increase in training and reported better access to support, increased time and skills to deliver care and improved morale, leadership and teamwork. However, problems remained with ward comfort and mealtimes. Overall, results indicated an improvement in ratings of care quality in most domains.

The authors said: ‘Although we cannot conclude the Quality Mark programme is the sole driver of improvement since many other factors could have influenced practice, it provides a measure that is sensitive to change as perceived by patients and staff.’

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