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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 March 2006, 12:19 GMT
Elderly people's champion urged
Elderly patient in hospital bed
The report says an 'elderly people's champion' should be considered
The appointment of an 'elderly people's champion' should be considered, a review into care in Edinburgh hospitals has found.

The independent inquiry was set up last May after a string of allegations of patient neglect.

The report has called for better complaints handling and there should be better ways of recording the views of patients and their families.

It contains 40 recommendations of which NHS Lothian has already looked at 32.

NHS Lothian pledged to bring in regular unannounced visits to wards by senior staff following the report's recommendations as well as stepping up nutritional care in wards, including training of staff and reviews of elderly patients' food.

'Technical care'

The report stressed the need to reinforce the protection of patients' dignity - as well as caring for their clinical needs.

NHS Lothian said front line staff were undergoing training and a review of staffing levels and skill mix on the trauma and orthopaedic wards has been undertaken.

Other themes pinpointed by the report included the necessity to improve communications between all members of a team caring for a patient and their relatives and friends.

The inquiry was chaired by Scotland's former chief nursing officer, Anne Jarvie.

She said: "In our report, we have no criticisms to make of the technical care received by patients.

"They get what they require, whatever that might be, but sometimes the things that are not done well are the things that you or I would do for ourselves."

Brian Cavanagh
I was especially struck by a comment from one relative that during their mother's entire time in hospital they never saw anyone hold her hand
Brian Cavanagh
NHS Lothian chairman

She said these were things like personal grooming and hygiene tasks.

She also commended the actions taken by the board, as soon as these complaints were known, to employ ward housekeepers who now assist patients with personal care and feeding.

The report noted: "When the External Reference Group started its work, NHS Lothian had already started to address many of the immediate issues raised by the complaints in relation to the quality of care."

Brian Cavanagh, NHS Lothian chairman, said: "I was especially struck by a comment from one relative that during their mother's entire time in hospital they never saw anyone hold her hand.

"Our acute wards are very busy and staff are fighting day and night to save lives and restore very ill patients to health.

"But that must not mean we lose sight of the basic need to be shown care and respect as individuals.

"We are currently undergoing a complete redesign of all our services for older patients and the work of the ERG report will play a crucial role in making sure we get them right."


SEE ALSO:
Elderly 'charged for free food'
27 Feb 06 |  Scotland
Call to extend free personal care
07 Feb 06 |  Scotland
Free elderly care 'over budget'
15 Feb 05 |  Scotland


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