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The Royal College of Nursing has called for a ‘patient guarantee’, setting out the number of nurses needed on older people’s wards

A new RCN report, launched at a conference on older people’s nursing in Manchester today, sets out a threshold of staffing levels below which care becomes compromised on older people’s wards. The RCN has said that most hospitals are currently failing to meet this level of care.

Despite older people often having the most complex needs, RCN evidence suggests they regularly suffer from a severe shortage of nurses and health care assistants (HCAs), coupled with an inappropriate skill mix of HCAs to nurses. The RCN has said that important tasks such as comforting and talking with patients, promoting mobility and self care and helping patients with food and drink are therefore being compromised.

RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary Dr Peter Carter said: “Despite working tirelessly to provide patients with high quality care, nurses in these settings have repeatedly told us that they are unable to do this because of pressures caused by short staffing.  It is unacceptable that there are not enough nurses on older people’s wards.”

RCN members voted overwhelmingly for legally enforceable staffing levels at Congress last year and the RCN is now calling on the Government to provide a guarantee that older people will get safe care.

Written by Scott Buckler
Tuesday, 20 March 2012 9:09

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