Emergency Department putting patients first, say the Care Quality Commission
Wednesday, 7 March 2018
Southmead Hospital’s Emergency Department has undertaken some outstanding work to support frail patients, including those living with dementia, according to the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
The department maintains its Good rating from inspectors in their latest report, published this week (Tuesday, March 7). This is in spite of rising demand and times of crowding within the department and demonstrates that even at the busiest times staff work hard to ensure patients receive safe care.
Among the areas of outstanding practice, inspectors highlighted the way staff care for people with dementia. With 32 dementia champions in the Emergency Department, covering roles ranging from porters to doctors, methods are used to help patients feel calmer.
The report noted artwork on cubicle walls used as a distraction for patients with dementia and a leaflet produced by a member of the nursing team to help patients and their carers better understand how they will be cared for within the department.
Inspectors also found that the service “took account of patients’ individual needs including patients in vulnerable circumstances or those with complex needs”.
At busy times inspectors found “there were effective systems in place to assess and manage risks to patients”, they added that “clear streaming and triage arrangements were in place which identified and prioritised patients with serious or life-threatening conditions”. This work is supported by a safety checklist that has received recognition nationally.
The CQC also noted that measures were in place to preserve patient privacy when the department was too busy for all patients to be cared for in bays.
Inspectors spoke to patients who said they “had no complaints about their care and told us that staff had checked they were comfortable”.
Winter has been particularly busy within the hospital and following the recent snow we have again seen high numbers of patients within the department.
This does mean that at times patients wait longer than they should, but the CQC has found that when this happens people receive safe care.
Emergency Department Head of Nursing, Juliette Hughes, said: “Despite increased demand and some very challenging times over winter we agree with the CQC’s comments about the care we provide. We are proud of our staff who have worked extremely hard to provide safe care for our patients.”
Emergency Department Lead Consultant, Leilah Dare, added: “We are still managing to provide a stroke service and trauma service, preserving this so that our sickest patients get seen quickly and get appropriate care.”
Emergency admissions have been rising – with an 8% rise for November to January this winter compared to last - and Juliette said that waits to be seen within the ED are reflective of this increasing demand.
“There are times when patients are waiting too long to be assessed and there are times when our waits for a bed are unacceptable, but we know they are not if you really need to be seen and if you are critically ill.
“Our staff have delivered over and above what could reasonably be expected of them and our number of compliments has demonstrated this - how proud we are links with the feedback we receive from our patients and we were pleased to see that the CQC agreed with what we think.”
Leilah echoed the sense of pride: “We have done exceptional things in exceptional circumstances and I am most proud that despite everything and the challenges everyone has faced, the compassion and caring side of our staff is reflected in the compliments we have received.”