PERFORMANCE: The Care Quality Commission found the trust was meeting standards relating to dignity and nutrition, but also noted minor concerns on both, during a spot check as part of a wider investigation into how older patients are treated.

The regulator checked two “essential standards” of care during an inspection of two wards –Heathfield 1 (Stroke) and Wandle 1 (temporary elderly care ward) – at the trust’s Croydon University Hospital on 5 April 2011.

Inspectors – including a practising nurse – observed how people were being cared for, talked with patients, talked with staff, and checked records.

The standards assessed were:

  • People should be treated with respect, involved in discussions about their care and treatment and able to influence how the service is run
  • Food and drink should meet people’s individual dietary needs

It concluded overall that the Croydon University Hospital had passed both of the essential standards of quality and safety the CQC reviewed but, to maintain performance, it suggested some improvements were made on both.

In its report, the regulator said: “Overall patients we spoke to on our visit were positive about their care and treatment.

“However we found that patients’ privacy and dignity was not always respected and patients were not always responded to quickly enough by staff. Patients were not always involved in the planning of care, treatment and support, and information was not always available or accessible.”

It added: “The trust had processes in place to identify and monitor people who are at risk of poor nutrition and hydration, but these were not being implemented consistently. Although we saw that patients were given assistance with feeding where required, the red tray system used to identify patients who require assistance did not work on one ward we visited.

“Nutrition assessments were not always available, not always completed in full, or hadn’t been followed up with a food and fluid chart where required.”

The regulator visited 100 hospitals as part of its programme of inspections on older patients’ treatment and is currently publishing them in batches, of which this is the fourth.