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Grey Pride: A manifesto | 7

What should happen

• Increase the number of staff

on older people's wards in line

with Royal College of Nursing


• Assess older people for

the possible presence of

frailty during all encounters

with health and social care


• Make falls risk assessments

mandatory, in line with

Assessing Care of Vulnerable

Elderly (ACOVE) and National

Institute for Health and Care

Excellence (NICE) advice.

• Appoint a Commissioner

for Older People who would

investigate, among other

issues, poor health care

experienced by older people.

One nurse for

10.3 patients

Older people's wards

on average have


concerns over plans by the National

Institute for Health and Care Excellence

(NICE) to change how it decides which

drugs will be supplied to the NHS based

on patients' benefit to society. The

association said this would impact on

older people as they might be deemed

less beneficial to society.

The culture within the NHS has to

change drastically, particularly given the

inevitable increase in demand as a result

of demographic change. Older people's

wards are already so badly under-staffed

that it "is not enough for safe care, let

alone good quality care", according to the

Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

One registered nurse to seven patients is

considered a basic safe care ratio by the

RCN. Older people's wards regularly have

one nurse for 10.3 patients on average.

On children's wards the ratio was one

registered nurse to 4.6 patients.

This means that almost half of the nurses

surveyed said they were unable to help

older people with preventing falls while a

third said they hadn't helped older patients

eat their meals or with drink to keep them

hydrated. A total of 19% of nurses said

they were unable to provide older patients

with adequate help to manage pain while

17% said they were unable to properly

care for dying patients.

The RCN states 35% of NHS nurses

reported time for professional

development had decreased while less

than half of registered nurses thought

health care assistants had the training they

needed to care for older people.


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