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
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.