PERFORMANCE: The Care Quality Commission found the trust was meeting standards relating to dignity and nutrition, but with minor concerns in 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 – Wards 1 and 2 – at the trust’s Chapel Allerton Hospital on 4 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 Chapel Allerton Hospital had passed both of the essential standards of quality and safety the CQC reviewed, but minor concerns were noted in both areas of dignity and nutrition.

In its report, the regulator said: “The trust ensures that patients using their services understand the care, treatment and support available to them and can express their own views about the care and services they are receiving. The views and experiences of people who use the services are taken into account in the way the service is being provided.

“However, people who use the service at Chapel Allerton Hospital are not always assured that they will be provided with the respect, dignity and privacy by the staff at all times during their stay in hospital.”

It added: “People who use the service are not always assured that the food and hydration provided meets all of their nutritional needs. People who had not ordered meals were made to wait until all other patients had been served before being offered any food that remained.

“It was also apparent that the tray system in place was not working and did not assure effective monitoring of the nutritional intake for those people at risk.”

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.