WGPlus (Archive)

What point ‘saving their lives’ if you then neglect the aftercare?

NICE has published new guidance setting out ‘red flag events’ which warn when nurses in charge of shifts must act immediately to ensure they have enough staff to meet the needs of patients on that ward.  ‘Red flag events’ include patients not being provided with basic care such as pain relief or help to visit the bathroom.  An appropriate response could be to provide more skilled nurses or increase numbers of staff.

This latest guidance is designed to help ensure safe & efficient nurse staffing levels on hospital wards that provide overnight care for adult patients in England and is in response to concerns about standards of patient care in the aftermath of the Mid Staffs scandal.

As patients’ needs differ from day to day, there is ‘no single staff number that can be safely & adequately applied across the wide range of wards in the NHS’.  The guidance committee concluded that when each registered nurse is caring for more than 8 patients this is a signal to check that patients are not at risk of harm.  At this point senior management and nursing managers should closely monitor red flag events, analyse safe nursing indicator data and take action if required.

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