The role of named nurses in care homes

Recommendation 199 was one of the Francis report’s most important. It called for the introduction of a named nurse system in acute care: ‘Each patient should be allocated for each shift a named key nurse responsible for co-ordinating the provision of the care needs for each allocated patient. The named key nurse on duty should, whenever possible, be present at every interaction between a doctor and an allocated patient.’

The named nurse system is not new of course and many staff will have adopted it long before Francis recommended its introduction. It has been associated with higher levels of satisfaction as patients and carers are aware of who is ‘in charge’ of, or accountable for, a patient. From a health-systems point of view, named nursing promotes continuity of care and endorses the model of person-centred care, which all practitioners strive to deliver. It has also been linked with staff satisfaction and empowered and autonomous nurses.

The difficulty of course, common among care providers in the independent sector, is that guidelines and recommendations on named nursing are not applied to care home settings. That’s why, in the April 2015 issue of Nursing Older People, we illuminate how named nursing works in a large independent care home provider. Given that in the UK there are more than 17,500 care homes providing long-term care to approximately half a million people, we hope it will prove to be a timely and useful resource.

About the authors

Gary Mitchell is dementia care adviser, Four Seasons Health Care, Northern Ireland
Joanne Strain is head of nursing, care standards and quality, Four Seasons Health Care, Wales, Northern Ireland and Isle of Man Division

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The role of the named nurse in long-term settings