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Found 36 results
  1. Content Article
    2020 National Patient Safety Goals (NPSGs) for specific programmes include chapters on: ambulatory healthcare behavioural healthcare critical access hospital home care hospital laboratory nursing care centre office-based surgery.
  2. Content Article
    Complaints from staff are not being heeded. Why is it that healthcare staff's opinions and pleas for their safety and the safety of patients do not matter? Here are just some examples of where safety has been compromised: Disposable gowns are being reused by keeping them in a room and then reusing after 3 days. There were no fit tests. Staff were informed by management that "one size fits all, no testers or kits available and no other trusts are doing it anyway". Only when the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) announced recently that fit tests were a legal requirement, then fit tests were given. I queried about fit checks only to discover that it was not part of the training and, therefore, staff were wearing masks without seals for three months before fit tests were introduced and even after fit tests! I taught my colleagues how to do fit checks via telephone. There was no processes in place at the hospital to aid staff navigation through the pandemic (no red or green areas, no donning or doffing stations, no system for ordering PPE if it ran out); it was very much carry on as normal. A hospital pathway was made one week ago, unsigned and not referenced by governance, and with no instructions on how to don and doff. Guidelines from the Association for Perioperative Practice (AFPP) and Public Health England (PHE) for induction and extubation are not being followed – only 5 minutes instead of 20 minutes. Guidelines state 5 minutes is only for laminar flow theatres. None of the theatres in this hospital have laminar flow. One of my colleagues said she was not happy to cover an ENT list because she is BAME and at moderate/high risk with underlying conditions. She had not been risk assessed and she felt that someone with lower or no risk could do the list. She was removed from the ENT list, told she would be reprimanded on return to work and asked to write a report on her unwillingness to help in treating patients. The list had delays and she was told if she had done the list it would not have suffered from delays. Just goes to show, management only care about the work and not the staff. It was only after the list, she was then risk assessed. Diathermy smoke evacuation is not being used as recommended. Diathermy is a surgical technique which uses heat from an electric current to cut tissue or seal bleeding vessels. Diathermy emissions can contain numerous toxic gases, particles and vapours and are usually invisible to the naked eye. Inhalation can adversely affect surgeons’ and theatre staff’s respiratory system. If staff get COVID-19 and die, they become a statistic and work goes on as usual. The examples listed above are all safety issues for patients and staff but, like me, my colleagues are being ignored and informed "it's a business!" when these safety concerns are raised at the hospital. The only difference is they are permanent staff and their shifts cannot be blocked whereas I was a locum nurse who found my shifts blocked after I spoke up. Why has it been allowed to carry on? Why is there no Freedom To Speak Up Guardian at the hospital? Why has nothing been done? We can all learn from each other and we all have a voice. Sir Francis said we need to "Speak Up For Change", but management continues to be reactive when we try to be proactive and initiate change. This has to stop! Actions needed We need unannounced inspections from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and HSE when we make reports to them. Every private hospital must have an infection control team and Freedom To Speak Up Guardian in post.
  3. News Article
    Several mental health trusts have reported spikes in incidents of physical restraint or seclusion on patients, driven by COVID-19 restrictions, HSJ has learned. Concerns have been raised nationally about the potential for incidents to increase during the pandemic, due to temporary measures which have had to be introduced such as visiting restrictions and communication difficulties due to personal protective equipment. Read full story Source: HSJ, 5 June 2020
  4. Content Article
    Podcast 1 – Interview with Chris Frerk Podcast 2 – Interview with Mark Stacey Podcast 3 – Interview with Stephen Hearns Podcast 4 – Interview with Claire Cox
  5. News Article
    Change course or a quarter of a million people will die in a "catastrophic epidemic" of coronavirus – warnings do not come much starker than that. The message came from researchers modelling how the disease will spread, how the NHS would be overwhelmed and how many would die. The situation has shifted dramatically and as a result we are now facing the most profound changes to our daily lives in peacetime. This realisation has happened only in the past few days. However, it is long after other scientists and the World Health Organization had warned of the risks of not going all-out to stop the virus. Read full story Source: BBC News, 18 March 2020
  6. News Article
    Hundreds of elderly and vulnerable social care residents have allegedly been sexually assaulted in just three months, a shock new report from the care regulator has revealed. According to the Care Quality Commission there were 899 sexual incidents reported by social care homes between March and May 2018. Almost half were categorised as sexual assault. In 16% of the cases members of staff or visiting workers were accused of carrying out the abuse. The watchdog said it was notified of 47 cases of rape and told The Independent local authorities were informed and 37 cases were referred to police for investigation. Kate Terroni, Chief Inspector of adult social care at the regulator, said: “Supporting people as individuals means considering all aspects of a person’s needs, including sexuality and relationships. However, our report also shows all too starkly the other side of this – the times when people are harmed in the very place they should be kept safe. This is utterly devastating, both for the people directly affected and their loved ones." “It is not good enough to put this issue in a ‘too difficult to discuss’ box. It is particularly because these topics are sensitive and complex that they should not be ignored.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 27 February 2020
  7. Content Article
    Recently Dr Peter Brennan tweeted a video of a plane landing at Heathrow airport during Storm Dennis. I looked at this with emotion, and with hundreds of in-flight safety information, human factors, communication and interpersonal skills running through my head. I thought of the pilot and his crew, the cabin crew attendants and the passengers, and how scared and worried they would have felt. On a flight, the attendants will take us through the safety procedures before take off. We are all guilty, I am sure, of partly listening because it is routine and we have heard it all before. Then suddenly we are in the midst of a violent storm and we need to utilise that information! We ardently listen to the attendants instructions and pray for the captain to land the plane safely, which he does with great skill! I now want to link this scenario to the care of our patients in the operating theatre. They are also on a journey to a destination of a safe recovery and they depend on the consultants and the team to get them there safely. Despite being routine, we need to do all the safety checks for each patient and follow the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist as it is written: ask all the questions, involve all members of the surgical team, even do the fire risk assessment score if it is implemented in your theatre. The pilot of that flight during Storm Dennis certainly did not think he was on a routine flight. He had a huge responsibility for the lives of his crew and many passengers! We can only operate on one patient at a time. Always remember, even though the operation may be routine for us, it may be the first time for the patient – so let's make it a safe journey for each patient. Do it right all the time!
  8. News Article
    Patients who abuse NHS staff will be banned from receiving non-emergency care as new figures show more than one in four NHS staff have experienced harassment, bullying or abuse from patients, relatives or members of the public. The annual survey of more than 560,000 NHS workers found one in seven staff (15%) had experienced physical violence in the last 12 months while 40,000 staff (7.2%) had faced some form of discrimination during 2019 – an increase from 5.8% in 2015. A total of 13% of staff reported being bullied, harassed or abused by their own manager in the past 12 months and almost a fifth (19%) said they had experienced abuse from colleagues. The health secretary Matt Hancock has written to staff condemning the abuse and warning assaults on NHS workers will not be tolerated. Under new plans NHS England said that from April NHS hospitals will be able to bar patients who inflict discriminatory or harassing behaviour on staff from receiving non-emergency care. Previously, individual NHS organisations could only refuse services to patients if they were aggressive or violent. Hospitals will be required to act reasonably and take into account the mental health of the patient or member of the public. Read full story Source: The Independent, 19 February 2020
  9. News Article
    The Doctors’ Association UK has compiled stories from 602 frontline doctors which expose a startling culture of bullying and overwork in the NHS. The stories include: a pregnant doctor who fainted after being forced to stand up for 15 hours straight and being denied water. The junior doctor was subsequently shouted at in front of colleagues and patients on regaining consciousness and told it was her choice to be pregnant and that ‘no allowances would be made’. a doctor who told us that a junior doctor hung themselves in a cupboard whilst on shift and was not found for 3 days as no-one had looked for them. His junior doctor colleagues were not allowed to talk about his suicide and it was all ‘hushed up’. a doctor who was denied a change of clothes into scrubs after having a miscarriage at work despite her trousers being soaked in blood. Full press release
  10. News Article
    There is always a lot happening with patient safety in the NHS (National Health Service) in England. Sadly, all too often patient safety crises events occur. The NHS is also no sloth when it comes to the production of patient safety policies, reports, and publications. These generally provide excellent information and are very well researched and produced. Unfortunately, some of these can be seen to falter at the NHS local hospital implementation stage and some reports get parked or forgotten. This is evident from the failure of the NHS to develop an ingrained patient safety culture over the years. Some patient safety progress has been made, but not enough when the history of NHS policy making in the area is analysed. Lessons going unlearnt from previous patient safety event crises is also an acute problem. Patient safety events seem to repeat themselves with the same attendant issues. Read full story Source: Harvard Law, 17 February 2020
  11. Content Article
    So, what does it feel like working in chronically depleted staffing levels? "We are down three nurses today" – this is what I usually hear when I turn up for a shift. It has become the norm. We work below our template, usually daily, so much so that when we are fully staffed, we are expected to work on other wards that are ‘three nurses down’. Not an uncommon occurrence to hear at handover on a busy 50-bedded medical ward. No one seems to bat an eyelid; you may see people sink into their seat, roll their eyes or sigh, but this is work as usual. ‘Three nurses down’ has been the norm for months here, staff here have adapted to taking up the slack. Instead of taking a bay of six patients, the side rooms are added on making the ratio 1:9 or sometimes 1:10, especially at night. This splitting up the workload has become common practice on many wards. "That was a good shift" – no one died when they were not supposed to, I gave the medications, I documented care that we gave, I filled out all the paperwork that I am supposed to, I completed the safety checklists. Sounds a good shift? Thinking of Erik Hollnagel’s ‘work as done, work as imagined’ (Wears, Hollnagel & Braithwaite, 2015) – this shift on paper looks as if it was a ‘good shift’ but in fact: Medications were given late; some were not given at all as the pharmacy order went out late because we had a patient that fell. Care that was given was documented – most of the personal care is undertaken by the healthcare assistants (HCA) now and verbally handed over during the day – bowel movements, mobility, hygiene, mouth care, nutrition and hydration. As a nurse, I should be involved in these important aspects of my patients’ care, but I am on the phone sorting out Bed 3’s discharge home, calling the bank office to cover sickness, attending to a complaint by a relative. It’s being attended to by the HCA – so it's sorted? I have documented, probably over documented which has made me late home. I’m fearful of being reprimanded for the fall my patient had earlier on. This will be investigated and they will find out using my documentation what happened. The safety checklists have been completed for all my patients; comfort rounds, mouth care, falls proforma, bed rails assessment, nutritional score, cannular care plan, catheter care plan, delirium score, swallow test, capacity test, pre op assessments, pre op checklists, safe ward round checklist, NEWS charting, fluid balance charting and stool charting… the list is endless. Management have made things easier with the checklist ‘if it’s not written down it didn’t happen’ so now we can ‘tick’ against the check list rather than writing copious notes. However, I cut corners to enable me to complete all my tasks, some ticks are just ‘ticks’ when no work has been completed. No one would know this shift would they? What looks as if it has been a ‘good shift’ for the nurse, has often been the opposite for the patients and their family. There is a large body of research showing that low nurse staffing levels are associated with a range of adverse outcomes, notably mortality (Griffiths et al, 2018; Recio-Saucedo et al, 2018). What is the safest level of staff to care for patients? Safe staffing levels have been a long-standing mission of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)/Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in recent years. In the UK at present, nurse staffing levels are set locally by individual health providers. The Department of Health and professional organisations such as the RCN have recommended staffing levels for some care settings but there is currently no compliance regime or compulsion for providers to follow these when planning services (Royal College of Nursing 2019). I was surprised to find that there are no current guidelines on safe staffing within our healthcare system. It left me wondering… is patient safety a priority within our healthcare system? It seems not. While the debate and fight continues for safe staffing levels, healthcare staff continue to nurse patients without knowing what is and isn’t safe. Not only are the patients at risk and the quality of care given, but the registration of that nurse is also at risk. What impact does low staffing have on patients and families? ‘What matters to them’ does not get addressed. I shall never forget the time a relative asked me to get a fresh sheet for their elderly mother as there was a small spillage of soup on it. I said yes, but soon forgot. In the throes of medication and ward rounds, being called to the phone for various reasons, answering call buzzers, writing my documentation, making sure Doris doesn't climb out of bed again, escorting patients to and from the CT scanner, transferring patients to other wards – I forgot. My elderly patients’ daughter was annoyed, I remember she kept asking and I kept saying "in a minute", this made matters worse. She got annoyed, so that I ended up avoiding her altogether. How long does it take to give her the sheet? Five minutes tops, so why not get the sheet? MY priority was the tasks for the whole ward, tasks that are measured and audited on how well the ward performs by the Trust; filling out the observations correctly, adhering to the escalation policy, completing the 20 page safety booklet, completing the admission paperwork, ensuring everyone had their medication on time, making sure no one fell – changing a sheet with a small spot of soup on it was not on my priority list. It was a priority for my patients’ family. My patient was elderly, frail and probably wouldn’t get out of hospital alive this time. Her daughter was the only family she had left. It’s no wonder families feel that they are not listened to, are invisible, are getting in the way and not valued. These feelings do not encourage a healthy relationship between patients/families and healthcare workers. Studies have shown that involving patients and families in care is vital to ensure patient safety. Patients and their relatives have the greatest knowledge of patients and can often pick up subtle signs physiological deterioration before this is identified by staff or monitoring systems (O’dell et al, 2011). If our relationship is strained, how can we, as nurses, advocate for the safety of our patients? So, what impact does low staffing have on the staff member? "Fully staffed today!" The mood lifts at handover. People are sat up, smiling, quiet excitable chatter is heard. This uplifting sentence is quickly followed by either: "Let’s keep this quiet" or "someone will be moved" or "someone will have to move to XX ward as they are down three nurses". Morale is higher when wards are fully staffed. The mood is different. There are people to help with patient care, staff can take their breaks at reasonable times, staff may be able to get home on time and there is emotional support given by staff to other staff – a camaraderie. The feeling does not last long. Another department is ‘three nurses down’. Someone must move to cover the shortfall. No one wants to go When you get moved, you often get given the ‘heavy’ or ‘confused’ patients. Not only that, you are working with a different team with different dynamics – you are an outsider. This makes speaking up difficult, asking for help difficult, everything is difficult: the ward layout, where equipment is stored, where to find documentation, drugs are laid out differently in the cupboard, the clinical room layout is not the same. The risk of you getting something wrong has increased; this is a human factors nightmare, the perfect storm. I am in fear of losing my PIN (NMC registration) at times. At some point I am going to make a mistake. I can’t do the job I have been trained to do safely. The processes that have been designed to keep me and my patients safe are not robust. If anything, it is to protect the safety and reputation of the Trust, that’s what it feels like. Being fully staffed is a rarity. Being moved to a different department happens, on some wards more than others. Staff dread coming to work for threat of being moved into a different specialty. Just because you trained to work on a respiratory, doesn’t mean you can now work on a gynae ward. We are not robots you can move from one place to another. I can see that moving staff is the best option to ensure efficiency; but at what cost? Another problem in being chronically short staffed is that it becomes the norm. We have been ‘coping’ with three nurses down for so long, that ‘management’ look at our template. Is the template correct, we could save money here? If we had written guidance on safe staffing levels, we still have the problem of recruitment and retention of staff; there are not enough of us to go around. Thoughts please... Does this resonate with you? Has anyone felt that they feel ‘unsafe’ giving care? What power do we have as a group to address this issue of safe staffing levels? References 1. Wears RL, Hollnagel E, Braithwaite J, eds. The Resilience of Everyday Clinical Work. 2015. Farnham, UK: Ashgate. 2. Griffiths P et al. The association between nurse staffing and omissions in nursing care: a systematic review. Journal of Advanced Nursing 2018: 74 (7): 1474-1487. 3. Recio-Saucedo A et al. What impact does nursing care left undone have on patient outcomes? Review of the literature. Journal of Clinical Nursing 2018; 27(11-12): 2248-2259. 4. O’dell M et al. Call 4 Concern: patient and relative activated critical care outreach. British Journal of Nursing 2001; 19 (22): 1390-1395.
  12. Community Post
    Call 4 Concern is an initiative started by Critical Care Outreach Nurse Consultant, Mandy Odell. Relatives/carers know our patients best - they notice the subtle signs of deterioration in their loved one. Families and carers are now able to refer straight to the Critical care outreach team directly if they feel that care has not been escalated. Want to set up a call for concern initiative in your Trust? Need some support? Are you a relative that would like it in your Trust? Leave comments below -
  13. Content Article
    I was employed as a healthcare assistant in a care home, where I worked for about three months. During this time, I found out that patient safety and quality of care were undermined by healthcare assistants, and the management and the nurses did not seem to realise it. Examples included: Carers were given a box of gloves each and they were expected to use them for up to two weeks. When asked for more gloves, the manager would check the last time they took a box of gloves and would question what they had done with the last ones they collected. In order to save the gloves, carers used one pair of gloves to deliver personal care to three to five residents before changing them. They would take the rest of the gloves home and bring them back to work in the next shift. Genital care was totally neglected. Residents’ genitals were not cleaned. I spoke to a nurse in another unit about this and all she said was she thought it was being done. When carrying out personal care to one lady, I found dried faeces wrapped in her pubic hair which took me a good number of minutes to clean. When I finally finished doing it, the lady pointed at her private part and said to me “it can breathe now” and when I asked why, she said “because it has been washed”. Infection control. One of the problems was that there was never any soap in the bathrooms and places where there were wash hand basins. So, after personal care, especially after caring for residents who had opened their bowels, we could only wash our hands with clear water. Hand sanitiser dispensers were hanging empty with no sanitising gel, so no opportunity for either visitors or staff to sanitise their hands whilst in the care home. Healthcare assistants apparently had no clue about catheter care, even those working at the nursing unit where there were a few residents that had catheters. I never saw any of them doing catheter care and one day when I was doing it, my colleague was really frightened, held my hand back and said I was going to pull the catheter out. Most of the times when residents opened their bowels, carers would either clean it very shallowly, or they would only take out the soiled pads and replace them with clean ones without cleaning the area at all. As such, when you took over the shift, during the first checks you would think that a resident had opened bowels but find out that the pad was dry and clean at that moment, but the faeces on it and on their skin was dried up. Oral and nail care was another issue. Carers never did oral care, and those who bothered to document would say “resident denied oral care”. Some of the residents’ beds were not functioning, especially in the nursing unit where most of the residents were bed-ridden. This meant that healthcare assistant staff had to bend and strain their backs each time they were giving personal care, which would lead to backaches. After trying to share my concerns on the above issues with three nurses to no avail, I was only left with the choice of talking to the management. I wrote a letter of observation, accompanied by some recommendations. I ended my letter by letting the management know that I was ready to discuss my concerns with them at any time. They did not call me up for any discussion. A change in behaviour... A few days later I started noticing a change of behaviour from all staff towards me. Most of them did not talk to me, many times I found out that people were whispering things about me as when they saw me approaching them they would stop talking. One unit reported that I was very slow, and I was never assigned to work there anymore. People ignored me when I tried to join in a conversation. Each time I was working, nobody would let me do personal care. I was only allowed to work as an assistant to fellow healthcare assistants. In some rooms where I went in first and started doing personal care, they would tell me that I was taking too much time. My opinion on anything did not count. One day when I came to work, there was a small problem which needed to be fixed between one of the nurses and myself, but she refused to listen to me and insisted that I should go back home. I went home as she had asked, and the next day I called and told the manager that I was sent home last night. He started blaming me based on what the nurse had told him, which was not true, without listening to my own side of the story. I insisted that he should call a meeting where he could listen to both of us, because what the nurse had said was untrue. His response to me was that I would need a reference from him so I should be careful about the way I did things. However, he finally accepted and we agreed on a date for the meeting. But when it came to the day of the meeting, the nurse was not there. I explained myself to my manager, in the presence of the secretary. His response to the letter I wrote with my concerns in was that he appreciated it, but he thought that the care home was not the right place for me, and that he thought that I was too qualified for the job. He suggested that everybody felt threatened with my presence. I told him that that it sounded to me like he wanted to remove me from my job; a job which I very much wanted to do. When I came back for the next shift, I discovered that my shift had been cancelled and I had been replaced by someone else. I spoke to a senior carer who called my manager and he told me that he was not expecting me to come to work because of what had happened the other night. I went back home. The next day he called and told me that after due consideration, he had decided to extend my probation time to a further three months, and that I should compose myself, come to work and do only what I was expected to do. Psychologically tortured As I continued working, things got worse each day. I experienced colleagues laughing at me, talking about me, not talking to me, ignoring me; the list could go on and on. I was psychologically tortured. I developed a violent headache. Each time I thought I was going back to work I felt sick, got palpitations, felt so hot as if I had fever, at times shivering, with painful nerves. I kept asking myself whether I was wrong to have done what I did. I did a lot of self-counselling and told myself that I was going to stay at the workplace if I was not dismissed. This was because I was planning to write more letters. I had only highlighted a few of the many issues in my first letter. My hope was that one day someone was going to understand me and things would improve. One night I stopped a colleague from putting a pad on a resident she had not cleaned properly. I cleaned the resident and did vaginal and catheter care, before putting on the pad. There was another resident who was very wet, from their pyjamas to the bedding; my colleague wanted us to only change the pad and let the resident lay with the wet clothes on the wet bed “since they were going to wash her in the morning anyway”. This was the 1am check, and I argued that I could not imagine her being able to fall asleep in that condition. We ended up changing the resident’s pyjamas and putting a towel and an extra pad on the bed to make her feel comfortable. Forced into resigning My colleague became angry with me. I was surprised because I had done nothing wrong. There was altercation and she confronted me. I couldn’t tell anyone as no one would believe me. I felt excluded and alone and the only thing that came to my mind was that I should resign. When I finished work in the morning I went and told my manager that I was resigning. He told me that I was expected to give two weeks’ notice and that I should write my resignation letter that day, which I did. He told me it was rather unfortunate that it hadn’t worked out for me in the care home… Did I do the right thing? What would you do?
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