PERFORMANCE: The Care Quality Commission found the trust was meeting standards relating to dignity and nutrition 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 wards – A15, a general medical ward and E1, The Integrated Specialist Stroke Unit – at the trust’s Stepping Hill Hospital during the spring.

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 Stepping Hill Hospital had passed the essential standard for dignity, though with minor concerns noted, but had not met the standard for nutrition.

In its report, the regulator said: “Patients stated they were kept informed and were involved in making decisions about treatment options, although for the most part they told us information was verbal rather than written.

“Staff were interested in issues around privacy and dignity but some staff had not had formal training in this topic and practices were mixed, meaning that some patient’s privacy and dignity was not always fully maintained.”

It added: “Most patients liked the food provided at Stepping Hill Hospital and felt staff gave them the right level of support to ensure their needs were met. Systems in place to identify patients at risk and ensure optimal conditions for patients to enjoy their meals were varied in their execution.

“There was evidence that some patients may not have received all the support they needed to consume fluids. Staff did not consistently record all relevant information about peoples’ nutritional needs which led to a risk that changes may not be identified or acted on quickly.”

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.