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 – nine and ten – at the trust’s Good Hope Hospital on 11 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 Good Hope 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: “People were helped to make choices in the treatment and support they received. Sometimes their privacy and dignity was not maintained because other people could hear what help they were receiving through the privacy curtains.

“People sometimes had to wait for assistance when they asked for it and were not always spoken to with respect.”

It added: “People were provided with hot, nutritious meals each day and support to eat if they needed it. There was not always sufficient food to ensure that everyone had access to all the choices available.

“Protected mealtimes were not observed by all professionals. Hand washing facilities were not made available to everyone. Nutritional assessments were generally well managed but individual preferences were not always recorded.”

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.