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Concerns raised over older patients

PUBLISHED: 15:16 10 June 2011

General view of the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston.; March 2010; Picture: James Bass; For: EDP News; Eastern Daily Press © 2010  (01603) 772434

General view of the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston.; March 2010; Picture: James Bass; For: EDP News; Eastern Daily Press © 2010 (01603) 772434

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2010

A watchdog has voiced "moderate concerns" about older patients' dignity and nutrition at the James Paget University Hospital.

Independent regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has been assessing how well older people are treated during their stay at 100 English hospitals, in particular looking at whether they were treated with dignity and respect and whether their nutritional needs were met.

Among the latest batch of published reports is the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston, which has been told to make improvements following the unnannounced visit by inspectors in April this year.

Inspectors said most of the people they spoke to were satisfied with the service, but the 544-bed hospital was not meeting the required standard for either patient dignity or patient care.

In one case, inspectors observed a patient sitting on a commode next to their bed.

The curtain had been partially drawn but the person was clearly visible to other people on the ward and to any visitors.

Female patients wearing open backed gowns also had their dignity compromised by being moved from a bed to chair without a curtain drawn around them.

Among other concerns was staff using a patronising manner or antagonistic tone of voice towards patients, people not being offered the chance to wash their hands before eating and patients not being helped into a suitable position to eat.

There was good practice, with ward staff cutting up food for some patients, or encouraging patients on the pureed diet meal to try each food, but another person who felt ill during a meal was left to retch a number of times in full view of others eating their meals.

Inconsistencies in records also means the risk of poor nutrition and hydration is not properly identified.

A spokeswoman for the hospital said the CQC had recognised its services for patients with dementia.

She said: “The trust recognises the value of all inspections and visits and is using the report to maintain our focus in ensuring our patients receive the highest standard of care.”

The hospital has been asked to send the CQC a report within 28 days, setting out the action they will take to make improvements.

Hilary MacDonald, chief executive of Age UK Norfolk, said: “It is very disappointing that the James Paget Hospital failed to reach the standards required by the CQC for both treating older people with dignity and ensuring they get adequate food and drink while they were in the hospital.

“Age UK Norfolk has been running the Hungry to be Heard campaign for some time and along with our national partner, Age UK, we called for the CQC to carry out the spot checks because we were still being informed of people in Norfolk encountering difficulties in obtaining the right nutrition in hospital and in being treated with dignity whilst there.”

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