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Found 38 results
  1. Content Article
    To download the poster, click on the attachment below: news.pdf
  2. Content Article
    My mother, 87 years, was admitted to hospital with a suspected heart attack. At the time, she was on a strong dose of a GP-prescribed opioid (fentanyl) to manage her growing lung cancer. The Duty doctor in the hospital seemed panicked as she was so unwell and used a drug to totally reverse her morphine as they thought she had overdosed. This caused excruciating pain for most of the last 60 hours of her life. They hadn’t properly assessed the history of her prescription or asked me, her documented health advocate, about the drug or my mother’s end of life wishes. After a 2-year long traumatic journey for the family, the Inquest issued a Prevention of Future Deaths report, agreeing her prior medication should have been properly assessed. After another year and a convoluted journey through the health system, NHS England’s Patient safety team issued a National Safety Alert to all English hospitals around more careful use of pain relief reversing. Five years later, my good friend was on an unusual cocktail of GP-prescribed drugs for her very painful arthritis. She was admitted to hospital after a fall that dislocated her severely arthritic shoulder. For three days in hospital she went through different medical teams, but no one looked at her pain control needs or her unusual medication, and the only pain relief medication that had worked for her for years was removed totally from very early on in the admission. She suffered on those hard hospital beds, unable to move to a comfortable position due to her painful arthritis, lack of adequate pain control and her shoulder that remained painfully dislocated. She could not move on those beds without help. She was in agony for three days. Sadly she died of a pulmonary embolism in hospital in the midst of that traumatic experience. What both these people have in common is the neglect of their medically prescribed, carefully designed pain control to meet their unique needs, their understandable wishes and personal rights. As a result their essential pain control was totally removed while other necessary medical interventions occurred. These patient and service user’s rights were not respected. Huge suffering resulted. This I believe needs addressing and learning from. Pain control needs of patients with chronic conditions needs to be carefully assessed and addressed on all hospital admissions from the very start of admission. The current complaint and Inquest systems do not have as their agenda these types of safety learning. There are two routes whereby these incidents can be recorded, with one route that may lead to an investigation and system learning nationally. One is the NHS patient portal, which is just for reporting (no one will get back to you, but the information you share could be used to improve safety for future patients), and the other is the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) who do national investigations almost always on recently occurring events. I would add there are developments in patient safety learning, including patient safety partners rolling out across some health facilities, but this is relatively early on in a national process: https://www.england.nhs.uk/patient-safety/framework-for-involving-patients-in-patient-safety/ The new NICE guidance on Shared Decision Making also adds to the pressure to learn and change from cases like this. Perhaps special guidance is needed for those admitted for emergency care with complex palliative medication needs? I hope a Body will take this up soon. The patient, service user, family and carer voice must be heard and acted on to improve patient safety at these difficult times. If you or anyone you know has had an experience like this, particularly in the last few months, do let me know by emailing me or commenting on this post below, as the routes above could lead to long lasting learning. It is sorely needed.
  3. News Article
    The proportion of newborn babies receiving a timely health visitor check-in has fallen sharply, with one in five missing out in the most recent statistics available. Official data reveals that only 82.6% of babies received a new birth visit within their first fortnight in 2021-22, as is recommended, and in the fourth quarter of the year it dropped as low as 79.3%. This is the lowest proportion recorded in recent years in the annual dataset on health visitor service delivery metrics, published by the Office for Health Improvements and Disparities. According to the NHS website, a health visitor new birth visit is supposed to take place between 10 and 14 days after birth and is designed to offer advice on issues including safe sleeping, vaccinations, infant feeding, infant development, and adjusting to life as a parent. Kate Holmes, head of support and information at charity The Lullaby Trust, said: “Safer sleep saves babies’ lives and all families should be given advice on how to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome for their baby. The new birth visit is a key opportunity for health visitors to talk to families about safer sleep and to provide them with information and support that takes their individual and family circumstances into account.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 7 November 2022
  4. Event
    The Deteriorating Patient Summit focuses on recognising and responding to the deteriorating patient through improving the reliability of patient observations and ensuring quality of care. The conference will include national developments, including the recent recommendations on NEWS2 and Covid-19, and implementing the recommendations from the HSIB Investigation into recognising and responding to critically unwell patients. The conference will include practical case study based sessions on identifying patients at risk of deterioration, improving practice in patient observations, responding to the deteriorating patient, improving escalation and understanding success factors in escalation, sepsis and Covid-19, involving patients and families in recognising deterioration, and improving the communication and use of NEWS2 in the community, including care homes, and at the interface of care. For further information and to book your place visit https://www.healthcareconferencesuk.co.uk/conferences-masterclasses/deteriorating-patient-summit or email kate@hc-uk.org.uk hub members receive a 20% discount. Email info@pslhub.org for discount code Follow on Twitter @HCUK_Clare #DeterioratingPatient
  5. News Article
    A coroner has raised concerns about a mental heath trust where staff falsified records made on the night a man died. Eliot Harris, 48, died in the Northgate Hospital in Great Yarmouth, run by the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT), in April 2020. Norfolk coroner Jacqueline Lake said that, two years on, staff were still not recording observations properly. The 48-year-old, who had schizophrenia, had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act after he became agitated at his care home and refused to take medication. He was taken to Northgate Hospital and, after a period in a seclusion room, was transferred to a private room on the ward. Mr Harris was discovered unresponsive in bed during the early hours of 10 April and pronounced dead half an hour later. In a Prevention of Future Deaths Report (PFDR), Ms Lake said: "Quality audits undertaken following Eliot Harris's death, show that observations are still not being carried out and recorded in accordance with NSFT's most recent policy - more than two years following Eliot's death." She said that on the night Mr Harris died there was no nurse in charge and instead of being allocated specific tasks, staff were told to "muck in", causing confusion about job responsibilities. These issues were not resolved at the time of the inquest, she said, with no evidence provided about whether specific tasks were allocated on the night shift. Not all staff had been trained in recording observations, there was a lack of evidence about procedures for entering a patient's room over concerns for their welfare, and there was "still some way to go to make sure care plans are completed", Ms Lake said. Read full story Source: BBC News, 6 October 2022
  6. Content Article
    Coroner's concerns Substantial evidence was heard at the inquest with regard to observations which were not carried out in respect of Eliot Harris in accordance with NSFT’s Policy and with regard to staff not undergoing training and assessment of their competency to carry out observations correctly. Quality audits undertaken following Eliot Harris’s death, show that observations are still not being carried out and recorded in accordance with NSFT’s most recent policy – more than two years following Eliot’s death. Not all staff have completed training with regard to carrying out of observations or have undergone and assessment of their competency to carry out observations. On the night of Eliot’s death, a Nurse in Charge had not been allocated and members of staff were not allocated specific tasks – they were told to “muck in”, as a result there was some confusion as to who was responsible for specific jobs. The evidence at the inquest was not clear as to whether specific tasks are allocated to specific members of staff on Night Duty and whether and how a Nurse in Charge is appointed for each night’s rota. Multi Team Meetings were not fully and properly recorded in the clinical records. At the inquest, evidence was heard there “is still some way to go” with regard to improving record keeping and for ensuring important matters such as rationale for decisions is fully recorded. Eliot’s Care Plan was not up to date at the time of his death. At the inquest evidence was heard that although audits show there has been an improvement in completion of Care Plans, there “is still some way to go” and staff still need to be prompted to complete these. Staff were reluctant to enter Eliot’s room following concern for his wellbeing. The evidence did not reveal what is now in place to ensure staff enter a patient’s room immediately if there are concerns for a patient’s welfare (having considered their (staff’s) own safety). It is not clear from the evidence what is now in place to ensure that relevant and requested physical health checks are carried out. The process of ensuring health checks are carried out has not changed since Eliot’s death and remains a retrospective process.
  7. Content Article
    As part of implementing the NHS Patient Safety Strategy, there are currently a number of new initiatives being rolled out across the NHS which are intended to achieve its vision of continuously improving patient safety. This includes the development of the Learn from patient safety events (LFPSE) service, for recording and analysing patient safety incidents, a new framework for involving patients in patient safety and the Patient Safety Incident Response Framework (PSIRF). PSIRF sets out the NHS’s approach to developing and maintaining effective systems and processes for responding to patient safety incidents. It promotes systems-based approaches for learning from incidents, rather than methods that assume simple, linear identification of a single cause. A key aim of the Patient Safety Management Network (PSMN) is to provide those working in patient safety with a shared space to discuss new policies that impact their work, and to share knowledge and resources with their peers. In this session, the Network considered how the systems-based approaches to incidents recommended by PSIRF can be implemented in practice. They focused on an example that used two of these tools in relation to a specific patient safety incident—an After Action Review (AAR) and an observational analysis, Patient safety incident The example discussed in this meeting was shared by a Patient Safety Manager who had applied two PSIRF tools to a specific patient safety incident that took place on a surgical ward, where an elderly, partially-sighted patient was due to be discharged. The original intention was to consider the implications of applying these tools to two separate incidents, but due to the level of discussion around the first incident there was not time to do this. However, Network members agreed on the value of having a future session focused on another example. In this case, an Internationally Educated-Nurse (IEN) came to issue a patient with medication on discharge. On the ward they took out medication from a POD locker (‘Patients Own Drugs’ - a bedside cabinet designed to offer safe and secure medication storage) and, when distracted by another task in a busy ward, put this on a side along with medication issued for the patient by a pharmacy. Subsequently, the patient took away both sets of medication, however it transpired that the medication in the POD locker belonged to another patient. The patient took the incorrect medication following discharge and was subsequently readmitted to hospital with an irregular heartbeat. To analyse this incident, the Patient Safety Manager decided to apply the Human Factors and ergonomics tools being promoted through PSIRF rather than undertake a Root Cause Analysis recommended by the Serious Incident Framework. After Action Review In response to this incident, first an AAR was undertaken. This is a structured review based on four questions aimed at understanding what happened, why it happened and how it can be done better by those responsible and involved in the incident. This review was undertaken by the Patient Safety Manager and a colleague in the Patient Safety team, and involved all staff involved in this incident including the Ward Manager and the IEN. In this case, there were specific reasons why it did not involve the patient, although AARs often can. The review concluded that: What was expected to happen? The patient should have been delivered the correct medication by the IEN, which should have been checked by another staff member as the IEN was still waiting their PIN (registration code from the Nursing and Midwifery Council). What actually occurred? The patient was sent home with the medication belonging to another patient which when taken, resulted in a hospital re-admission. Why was there a difference between what was expected and what actually happened? The IEN was not aware they required supervision discharging patients with medication (the ward coordinator was not aware they did not have their PIN yet), the POD locker was not emptied after the last patient and the ward was short staffed. What was the learning? Staff coordinating the ward need to be aware of IEN capabilities, IENs need to be aware of restrictions prior to receiving their PIN, POD lockers require checking on discharge of patients. Observational analysis The Patient Safety Manager felt that the AAR alone hadn’t necessarily provided the team with enough insights into the issues involved in the incident and decided to apply another recommended PSIRF tool, an observational analysis. The intention of this was to understand how the ward worked in relation to patients receiving medication from POD lockers on discharge, seeing ‘work-as-done’ as opposed to ‘work-as-imagined’ by staff in this area. This observational analysis was done using a locally adapted version of the tools recommended by PSIRF. Findings of the observation included: Environment – The ward was busy, noisy, and hot, with lots of activity taking place in a small space. The POD lockers themselves were not easily visible as white boxes on white wall. Person – There was limited communication between porters and nurses and limited dialogue/handover/briefing before a patient transfer. Organisation of work – Workload was extremely high. The POD locker was not checked routinely, and it was unclear whose responsibility it was to check medications in the lockers. Tasks – The task of checking a POD locker once a patient has moved is a simple one, but needs to be performed by a trained nurse and faces the competing priorities of patient care and patient flow. Technology and tools – POD lockers are not all in the same places, not all nurses have keys to them and there are no visual cues to check the lockers when a patient is moved or when there are drugs in them. Evaluating the findings of this observational analysis, a key issue not picked up as clearly by the AAR in this case concerned the POD lockers—namely the lack of operating procedures and routine around these, limited staff having access to them and there being no clear responsibility for checking and clearing them. Following completion of the AAR and observational analysis, both documents were uploaded to the Trust’s incident reporting system and an outcome letter was shared with the patient’s family, detailing what issues had been found and what action would be taken to address these. The family were appreciative of the information and were reassured that learning was being applied that would prevent future harm to patients. The action to address the issues identified in the observation included referral to the Trust-wide Medicines Management Committee for review of the need for improvements in the management of medication and POD lockers. Network discussion In the subsequent discussion of these approaches to analysing and learning from this patient safety incident, there were a range of reflections from Network members: In relation to the specific patient safety incident: It was noted that in this case, involving the IEN in the AAR was positive as it provided immediate reassurance to the staff member that the aim of this review to learn rather than blame, as the IEN had concerns about the professional consequences of this error and the potential impact on their employment status. There was a discussion of whether it would make sense to do a short-term fix with regards to the POD lockers, such as painting them a distinct colour, and whether this would have a significant positive impact, or potentially unintended consequences if done in isolation of other quality improvement activities. An interesting outcome in this case is that the AAR review seemed much more centred on the individual involved in the incident, while the observational analysis drew our wider environment factors. In relation to the application of PSIRF tools more broadly: There were questions about how information from AARs, observations and other new PSIRF tools would subsequently feed into organisational plans. It was posited that these could be reviewed at regular intervals (for example, every three months) by the patient safety team, and their insights used to feed into an organisation-wide quality improvement project, or a thematic review. PSIRF highlights the new approaches and tools to be adopted, but organisations need to consider how they respond to the outcome of new tools and how information is reported and acted on with quality improvement projects and organisational oversight. There was a question about whether the staff conducting the AAR and observational analysis got the right support. A question was posed as to whether there could be an opportunity for a constructive friend challenge by a Human Factors expert or discussion about how this was approached afterwards? There was an acknowledgement that sometimes it can be difficult to define what observations fit into which SEIPs categories—for example, something in the ‘Environment’ that may also fit under the ‘Technology and tools’ heading. Also, a question was asked as to whether this matters as long as the learning is recorded. It was noted that training for PSIRF tools is covered in Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch training, but that it would be helpful if there were also simple practical guides to help staff when undertaking these reviews. In relation to the observational analysis: There was also discussion about how to approach observations of this type. Many highlighted the issue that when staff know they are being observed, they potentially act differently. The question was raised as to how close you get to seeing an accurate reflection of ‘work-as-done’—is the presence of someone observing having a significant impact on how activities are being approached? Other points raised included: An observational analysis of this type can be easily done in a hospital, but how effective or simple would it be to perform it in a community setting, for instance if the issue occurred involving a nurse in a patient’s home? Would it potentially be better to do observations while also doing a shift on a ward, as opposed to joining simply to do an observation? Or would this add in unexpected bias into the process? Is there more to be done for staff to understand how to ‘observe well’? With training or guidance from Human Factors/ergonomics experts? If the aim is to create an open, learning culture, it is important that staff are aware they are being observed so that they do not feel they are being spied on. It is important to clearly communicate the aim of an observational analysis to staff, highlighting that it is fundamentally to understand their work and improve safety. Concluding comments At the session there were a number of positive reflections on the use of new PSIRF tools and their potential to improve learning from patient safety incidents. The discussions also underlined the importance of ensuring that staff have the appropriate support and training to help embed the use of the tools and develop how the outcomes of each tool inform improvement and organisational oversight. How to get involved in the PSMN Are you a patient safety manager interested in joining the Patient Safety Management Network? You can join by signing up to the hub today When putting in your details, please tick ‘Patient Safety Management Network’ in the ‘Join a private group’ section. If you are already a member of the hub, please email claire@patientsafetylearning.org Related Reading Applying the After Action Review for the PSIRF – some real life examples (10 March 2022) Observational tools, Human Factors and patient safety: a recent discussion at the Patient Safety Management Network (9 March 2022) Patient Safety Management Network – the time is now (25 October 2021)
  8. Event
    The Deteriorating Patient Summit focuses on recognising and responding to the deteriorating patient through improving the reliability of patient observations and ensuring quality of care. The conference will include National Developments including the recent recommendations on NEWS2 and Covid-19, and implementing the recommendations from the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch Report Investigation into recognising and responding to critically unwell patients. The conference will include practical case study based sessions on identifying patients at risk of deterioration, improving practice in patient observations, responding to the deteriorating patient, improving escalation and understanding success factors in escalation, sepsis & Covid-19, involving patients and families in recognising deterioration, and improving the communication and use of NEWS2 in the community, including care homes, and at the interface of care. For further information and to book your place visit https://www.healthcareconferencesuk.co.uk/conferences-masterclasses/deteriorating-patient-summit or email kate@hc-uk.org.uk hub members receive a 20% discount. Email info@pslhub.org for the discount code Follow the conference on Twitter @HCUK_Clare #DeterioratingPatient
  9. Event
    The Deteriorating Patient Summit focuses on recognising and responding to the deteriorating patient through improving the reliability of patient observations and ensuring quality of care. The conference will include National Developments including the recent recommendations from the Royal College of Physicians on NEWS2 and Covid-19, and implementing the recommendations from the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch Report Investigation into recognising and responding to critically unwell patients. The conference will include practical case study based sessions on identifying patients at risk of deterioration, improving practice in patient observations, responding to the deteriorating patient, improving escalation and understanding success factors in escalation, sepsis & covid-19, involving patients and families in recognising deterioration, and improving the communication and use of NEWS2 not only in an acute setting but also in the community and at the interface of care. For further information and to book your place visit https://www.healthcareconferencesuk.co.uk/conferences-masterclasses/deteriorating-patient-summit or email kate@hc-uk.org.uk Follow on Twitter @HCUK_Clare #deterioratingpatient hub members can receive a 20% discount. Email info@pslhub.org discount code.
  10. Event
    This Hospital at Night Summit focuses on out of hours care in hospitals delivering high quality safe care at night. Through national updates, networking opportunities and case studies this conference provides a practical guide to delivering a high quality hospital at night, and moving forward during and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic. The conference will also focus on improving staff well-being at night and reducing fatigue. Attending this conference will enable you to: Network with colleagues who are working to improve Hospital at Night Practice Learn from developments as a results of Covid-19 Improve your skills in the recognition management and escalation of deteriorating patients at night Understand and evaluate different models for Hospital at Night Examine the role of task management solutions for Hospital at Night, including handover and eObservations Ensuring effective and safe staffing at night, including adequate breaks Examine Hospital at Night team roles, competence and improve team working Improving safety through the reduction of falls at night Supporting staff and reducing fatigue at night Develop the role of Clinical Practitioner and Advanced Nursing Practice at night Identify key strategies to change practice and ways of working in Hospital at Night Understand how hospitals can improve conditions for night workers and support Junior Doctors Improve the management of pain at night Work across whole systems to improve support for patients out of hours Self assess and reflect on your own practice Gain CPD accreditation points contributing to professional development and revalidation Evidence Register There are a limited number of free places for hub members. Email: info@pslhuborg if interested. Follow on Twitter @HCUK_Clare #hospitalatnight
  11. Community Post
    I would be interested to know, if overnight, patients who score 0-2 on NEWS which has not changed with no concerns since the last set of observations, what your trust policy is on observation frequency? Does your trust require observations to be carried out 4 hourly minimum regardless of patients NEWS score and stability? Or if there are no concerns and the patient is clinically stable with consecutive NEWS 0-2 that they do not have observations taken overnight? Looking forward to hearing what other trust practices are.
  12. Content Article
    A new investigation report has been published by HSIB with the aim of helping to improve patient safety in relation to administering high-strength insulin from a pen device to patients with diabetes in a hospital setting.[1] The investigation focuses on the case of Kathleen who has type 2 diabetes and was using a high-strength insulin administered from an insulin pen device to manage her condition. The insulin in her pen device was Humulin R U-500 insulin, which is five times the strength of most insulins. On being admitted to hospital (for a reason unrelated to her diabetes) a nurse administered her insulin as measured by an insulin syringe, rather than the pen device. However, the syringe was intended for use with standard strength insulin and as a result Kathleen was given five times the dose of insulin that she had been prescribed. She received two overdoses of insulin in this way and on both occasions becoming hypoglycaemic (a condition where a person’s blood glucose level becomes too low, which can be dangerous if not treated quickly) and requiring medical treatment. Findings of the investigation Key findings from this investigation included: Variation among trusts in their use of high-strength insulin and the number of patients on these medications. Staff not always being familiar with the different range of high-strength insulins and associated pen devices, with significant variation in training and competency with respect of administering insulin. National safeguards were found to be inadequate to support the safe use of high-strength insulin by healthcare professionals. Inconsistent numbers of diabetes specialist nurses employed across trusts to supporting upskilling staff in relation to diabetes management. A “wholly preventable” incident? The patient safety incident described in this investigation is classed by NHS England and NHS Improvement as a Never Event. These are defined as: “Serious Incidents that are wholly preventable because guidance or safety recommendations that provide strong systemic protective barriers are available at a national level and should have been implemented by all healthcare providers”.[2] A National Patient Safety Alert in 2016 highlighted the risks associated with this specific type of incident and actions required by NHS organisations.[3] This included ensuring staff are made aware of the risks of extracting insulin from pen devices and that they have appropriate training to use these devices. However, in a report published last year, citing the specific case from this investigation, HSIB stated that in their view the barriers to prevent this type of incident “were neither strong nor systemic”.[4] They suggested that this event did not fit the definition of being “wholly preventable” and should be removed from the Never Event list, with new work needed to develop systemic safety barriers to prevent this reoccurring. In response, NHS England and NHS Improvement noted they reviewed the list of Never Events on an ongoing basis and would welcome any suggestions for implementing stronger safety barriers but made no specific commitments for action regarding this insulin safety incident. The findings of this investigation indicate that the barriers that are supposed to be in place tp ensure that this type of incident is “wholly preventable” may not be present amongst all healthcare providers. Patient Safety Learning is concerned that this reference case is unlikely to be a one-off and that there remains a significant risk of avoidable harm from this incident occurring again elsewhere in the NHS. Patient and family engagement Patient engagement is key to improving patient safety. In our report, A Blueprint for Action, we identify this as one of the six foundations of safer care.[5] We believe that patients should be engaged for safety at the point of care, if things go wrong, in improving services, advocating for changes and in holding the system to account. This investigation serves to underline the important role that a patient’s family members can play in highlighting patient safety issues. It was Kathleen’s husband who highlighted concerns with the Nurse Practitioner about her two hypoglycaemic events and querying the dosage she received. This intervention subsequently resulted in the awareness that she had been receiving the incorrect doses because the insulin had been administered by using a syringe rather than a pen device. This case raises concerns about how a patient’s family member’s expertise is used by healthcare professionals. The report states that Kathleen’s husband had initially told staff on the surgical ward about her medication, including that her insulin was five times stronger than standard insulin. However, we know from the investigation that despite providing this information, this wrong dosage was still given. The report notes that: “Kathleen’s family had concerns that the nurse administering Kathleen’s insulin in hospital might not be the staff member they had spoken with." Because of this, her Husband felt that "…it puts the responsibility on me' to ensure that Kathleen was given the correct dose.” Patients must be listened to, and their information, insights and concern must be taken seriously and responded to. In this case, Kathleen was prevented from coming to further harm by the timely action of her husband but unfortunately the opportunity to prevent the two overdoses not prevented. Importance of training The report highlights specific concerns about insulin safety training for staff, noting that at the Trust involved the national ‘Safe Use of Insulin’ e-learning programme had not been among the mandatory training requirements for staff (though it has now subsequently been included in this category). HSIB states that they were told by representatives from the NHS England and NHS Improvement National Diabetes Programme that training, appropriate to the person’s level of responsibility, should be provided to all healthcare staff involved with insulin. However, they also note that: “The investigation engaged with national leaders to consider how training and support for healthcare professionals could be enhanced to increase the knowledge around insulin use relative to each clinical role. The investigation was told that this would require support from a range of national stakeholders and would need to be co-ordinated by a central NHS body to ensure it was effective.” As a result of this, HSIB made the following Safety Observation: “It may be beneficial for insulin training to be competency based and specific to the healthcare practitioner’s role, in line with the ‘Diabetes: getting it right first time’ national specialty report.” However, there is no specific organisation who is identified as being responsible for the ownership and coordination of this task. Observations not recommendations HSIB Recommendations are directed at specific organisations who are asked to respond in 90 days of publication of the report. Their Safety Observations may or may not be directed at a specific organisation and require no formal response. This report makes no recommendations, but four observations. Patient Safety Learning is concerned that as these patient safety improvement points are only observations, with no specific organisation/s responsible for their delivery and assessment of effectiveness, these are unlikely to reduce the risk of a similar incident occurring in another trust. As noted in our recent report Mind the implementation gap, for HSIB Safety Observations there “appears to be no system to disseminate or act on these, beyond them being published towards the end of numerous patient safety reports”.[6] We believe that the impact of HSIB investigations on learning and improvement would be significantly strengthened with formal recommendations, which are then implemented in a timely and rigorous manner along with transparent performance monitoring and reporting. Considering the findings of this report, we think there may also be value in a specific assessment by NHS England and NHS Improvement of the rollout and implementation of training for healthcare professionals who dispense, prescribe and/or administer insulin (as recommended in the report Diabetes: getting it right first time.[7] References HSIB, Administering high-strength insulin from a pen device in hospital, 7 July 2022. NHS England and NHS Improvement, Never Events policy and framework, January 2018. NHS Improvement, Patient Safety Alert: Risk of severe harm and death due to withdrawing insulin from pen devices, 16 November 2016. HSIB, Never Events: analysis of HSIB’s national investigations, January 2021. Patient Safety Learning, The Patient-Safe Future: A Blueprint For Action, 2019. Patient Safety Learning, Mind the implementation gap: The persistence of avoidable harm in the NHS, 7 April 2022. Getting It Right First Time, Diabetes: GIRFT Programme National Specialty Report, November 2020. Related reading Improving safety for diabetic inpatients: 4 key steps (14 June 2021) Top picks: 5 key resources about diabetes (13 June 2021)
  13. Content Article
    The investigation found a significant number of failures in the care and treatment of the patient overall and in the following areas: Nutrition and Feeding the patient – contrary to guidance which highlights the importance of high quality nutritional care based on individual assessment of needs with appropriate planning and monitoring, this investigation found the following failings: The feeding of porridge contrary to Speech and Language Therapy advice on 3 and 4 December 2016 and offering other foods contrary to advice. The recording who fed the patient porridge. The identification that the recommended diet was not provided and the taking of appropriate action. The recording of foodstuffs in a consistent manner. The reporting and recording of adverse incidents in relation to the feeding of porridge on 3 and 4 December 2016. Communication & Reasonable Adjustments – safe, person centred care is underpinned by effective communication. When caring for a patient with a learning disability communication must be timely and sensitive to the needs of the person and involve the family when appropriate. This is particularly essential in relation to pain management and when a patient is non-verbal. This investigation found the following significant failures: Failure to use any kind of pain tool to assess and record the patient’s possible pain or distress. This issue is of particular importance as the patient was unable to verbalise his pain levels. Failure to ensure the care of the patient was consistently tailored for a person with dementia and learning disabilities in accordance with GAIN Guidelines. The investigation also established further failings in relation to: A failure to ensure there was a coordinated approach between the Palliative Care and Care of the Elderly teams. A lack of coordinated communication between the family, Palliative Care and Care of the Elderly teams. The over prescribing of paracetamol to the patient on Ward 3 South due to the inaccurate estimation of the patient’s weight. The investigation established maladministration in relation to: The failure of the Trust to show regard for the patient’s human rights by failing to appropriately support or record the assessment of the patient's possible pain or distress; and to ensure the care of the patient was not consistently tailored for a person with dementia and earning disabilities. The failure to report overprescribing of paracetamol in line with the Trust’s ‘Adverse Incident Reporting and Management Policy’, April 2014 and Guidelines for the administration of intravenous (IV) Paracetamol’, December 2014. The failure to inform the complainant and her family of the overprescribing of paracetamol in line with the Trust’s ‘Being Open Policy’, February 2015 and it’s ‘Guidelines for the administration of intravenous (IV) Paracetamol’, December 2014. The failure to inform the complainant and her family of the overprescribing of paracetamol in line with the Trust’s ‘Being Open Policy’, February 2015. The poor management of complaints has been highlighted in many of the reports and inquiries that have examined the care of people with a learning disability in hospitals. Opportunities were missed in this complaints handling process to provide the family with empathetic and timely responses which may have helped resolve their concerns locally and prevented them having to use time and energy in approaching the Public Services Ombudsman. The investigation established failings in the Trust’s handling of the complaint namely: The failure to meet with the family prior to completing any investigation. The failure to share minutes of the meeting, held on 21 September 2018, with the complainant for comment. The delay in issuing minutes of the meeting, held on 21 September 2018, to the complainant. The delay in providing a final response to the complainant. The failure to provide regular and informative updates to the complainant. The failure to ensure coordination between the complaints team and the service area. The failure to recognise the sensitivities around arranging a venue for the meeting with the complainant on 21 September 2018. The investigation did not establish failings in the patient’s care and treatment in relation to: The decision to carry out the procedure of oral suctioning on the patient on the night before he died. The vitamin drip being administered after the patient was deemed End of Life on 6 December 2016. The reducing pain relief without consen. The anaesthetics care of the patient on 10 November 2016. The investigation was unable to make a determination as to whether the vitamin drip was administered prior to the administration of paracetamol on 9 December 2016
  14. Content Article
    The Matters of Concern are as follows: For the Priory Hospital: 1. Record keeping: During the inquest staff confirmed that they record information about patients in two ways. On the electronic records and on handwritten handover sheets. During the inquest the evidence confirmed that different information was recorded on each. There are serious concerns that staff are recording information in two places and this creates a real risk, as materialised in Matthew’s case, that different information is recorded in each place and key information gets lost. 2. Record Keeping quality: There were numerous inaccuracies in Matthew’s medical records, eg his status was written as informal when he was formal, he was described as violent when he was not and was described as "she". Staff were unable to explain how that occurred. The investigation witness from the Priory thought there was an element of cutting and pasting into the records from another patient’s records. There are serious concerns about the accuracy of the clinical record at the Priory for what are some of the most vulnerable patients. 3. Risk Assessments: The inquest heard how all members of staff can update a Risk Assessment at any time. Despite this, and with clear evidence that Matthew was at risk of absconsion, his risk assessment was not updated over the weekend when the risk materialised. There are serious concerns about how risk assessments are completed, when they are completed, who completes them and whether they are updated in a timely and necessary manner by suitably experienced staff. 4. Serious Incidents: The inquest heard evidence that a previous absonsion over the courtyard fence in October 2019 had not prompted any review of the height of the fence and focussed on why the patient absconded ie to have a cigarette. There are serious concerns that the system of investigation in place at the Priory means critical lessons are not learnt at the appropriate time. 5. Courtyard Fence: A patient absconded over the courtyard fence during the inquest which indicates the courtyard area is not safe. There are serious concerns that an urgent review of the courtyard is required. In addition,evidence heard from a Dr that the fence was a ligature risk. Staff gave evidence that the courtyard in its current format with steps and a gradient on the grass bank was unsafe especially if a patient needed to be restrained. For the Department of Health: 1. National guidelines for perimeter fences and security in acute mental health unit outside areas. The inquest heard evidence from a Professor, a specialist in safety in Mental Health settings, that it would be useful for there to be standard guidelines for the requirements of perimeter fences and security for outside areas in acute Mental Health units as no such guidance is in place. This would ensure the correct level of security for some of the most vulnerable patients whilst maintaining a therapeutic setting.
  15. Content Article
    Brooke was admitted to Chadwick Lodge on 15 April 2019 and had been diagnosed with Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder; she initially failed to engage and was violent to staff and self-harming. By the middle of May 2019 she had made progress. On 5th June 2019 she was found with a ligature around her neck, which was suspended from the door of her room. Following this incident consideration should have been given to a formal risk assessment to include consideration of her level of observation. The details of the incident should have been fully disclosed to the MDT meeting on 6 June and consideration given to increasing the level of observation. The incident should also have been discussed and disclosed to all members of staff caring for her. On 10 June 2019 Brooke Martin was found secretly fiddling with a bedsheet on two occasions by two different members of staff.. The bedsheet should have been removed and examined, that would have shown that a section of the sheet had been torn off. This would and should have resulted in a full risk assessment and search of her room, that would have resulted in an increase in her level of observations to 1:1 observations. Brooke Martin, if constantly observed or other safety measures put in place would not have been able to tie the ligature that caused her death and would not therefore have died on 11t June 2019. Coroner's concerns During the course of the evidence it was explained to the coroner that it had not been possible to access the notes and records from an out of area hospital because not all the health providers were using “System One”. It is a major concern that the various systems used throughout the NHS are not compatible with each other and it is not always possible for each healthcare provider to access the notes and records of the patient. This situation should be reviewed to see how access across the NHS can be gained to patient records when required. The coroner was told by one senior clinician that when a patient is referred to his specialist mental health unit it is often the case, that is 9 times out of 10, he does not receive all the information of the patient’s history. This would not be the case if he had direct access to the records.
  16. Community Post
    Lets talks NEWS... Nurse and carer worry, I like to think that Critical Care outreach teams take this very seriously and that the 'worry' has a heavy influence in our management. Many of our patients may score 0, but warrant a trip to the ITU (AKI patients for instance). However, as part of our escalation policy it states that staff should alert the doctor and or the Outreach team when NEWS is 5 or 3 in one parameter. This causes the 'radar referral effect'. We often have a group of these patients on our list. Personally, I find them difficult to prioritise as they are often receiving frequent observations and have a plan. By concentrating on this group and make sure they have everything in place can take time, but... what about those not scoring in this threshold? Do they get pushed to the bottom of the list? Should nurses follow this protocol to safeguard themselves as well as the patient or are we not looking for sick patients in the right place? Don't get me wrong, the NEWS has been revolutionary in the way we deal with deterioration, but as a tool to prioritise this may not be the case. There are softer signs at play here....has anyone got any solutions to deal with the 'radar referals' Lots to discuss @Ron Daniels @Emma Richardson @LIz Staveacre @Danielle Haupt @Kirsty Wood
  17. News Article
    Brain complications, including stroke and psychosis, have been linked to COVID-19 in a study that raises concerns about the potentially extensive impact of the disease in some patients. The study, published in Lancet Psychiatry, is small and based on doctors’ observations, so cannot provide a clear overall picture about the rate of such complications. However, medical experts say the findings highlight the need to investigate the possible effects of COVID-19 in the brain and studies to explore potential treatments. “There have been growing reports of an association between COVID-19 infection and possible neurological or psychiatric complications, but until now these have typically been limited to studies of 10 patients or fewer,” said Benedict Michael, the lead author of the study, from the University of Liverpool. “Ours is the first nationwide study of neurological complications associated with Covid-19, but it is important to note that it is focused on cases that are severe enough to require hospitalisation.” Scientists said the findings were an important snapshot of potential complications, but should be treated with caution as it is not possible to draw any conclusions from the data about the prevalence of such complications. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 26 June 2020
  18. News Article
    A private hospital facing a police investigation following a patient’s death has been given an urgent warning by the care regulator due to concerns over patient safety. The Huntercombe Hospital in Maidenhead, which treats children with mental health needs, was told it must urgently address safety issues found by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following an inspection in March. The CQC handed the hospital a formal warning due to concerns over failures in the way staff were carrying out observations of vulnerable patients. The move comes as The Independent revealed police are investigating the hospital in relation to the death of a young girl earlier this year. In a report published last week, the care watchdog said it had received “mainly negative” feedback from young people at the hospital’s Thames ward, a psychiatric intensive care unit which treats acutely unwell children. Commenting on the hospital overall, the report said: “Young people told us that staff did not follow the care plans in relation to their level of observations. They told us that if there was an incident the staff stopped doing intermittent observations. Staff in charge of shifts on wards asked new staff members to do observations before they understood how to do it. Staff had to ask the young person how to carry out their observations as they did not always understand what was expected of them in carrying out different levels of observations.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 19 May 2022
  19. News Article
    A hospital has admitted clinical negligence over maternity care failings that led to the potentially avoidable death of a 10-day-old baby, The Independent has learned. Kingsley Olasupo and his twin sister Princess were born on 8 April 2019 at Royal Bolton Hospital. Kingsley died 10 days later following a catalogue of mistakes, which included failing to screen him for sepsis. Kingsley and his sister were born premature at 35 weeks. Three days later he was admitted to the special care unit due to a low temperature and “poor” feeding. Despite being reviewed by two doctors he was not screened for an infection and not given antibiotics. His condition deteriorated and on 12 April he was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis and sepsis. Days later scans revealed he had severe brain damage and would not survive. Kingsley’s family said they had been “torn apart” by their son’s death and had pursued the trust to ensure a full independent investigation was carried out and lessons learnt. BFT launched an investigation into Kingsley’s care after Mr Olasupo and Ms Daley raised concerns over their son’s death. According to the trust’s investigation report, seen by The Independent, failings in care included that Kingsley was not screened for sepsis despite several “red flags”. Had this been done he would have been given antibiotics. When midwives first escalated concerns to the neonatal team no physical medical review of Kingsley took place. The investigation also found neonatal staff did not carry out daily reviews, and reviews that were done were incomplete and contained “inaccurate” and “misleading” information. Other failings included: “Ineffective” assessment of Kingsley’s wellbeing on the postnatal ward Poor communication between staff and poor handover processes No consideration was given to the fact Kingsley was not feeding well Inadequate recording of observations. Read full story Source: The Independent, 20 April 2022
  20. News Article
    The chief executive of a mental health trust grappling with care quality failures has described his anger at ‘disrespectful’ staff who have ‘now had to leave the organisation’. In a message to staff, seen by HSJ, Brent Kilmurray, chief executive of Tees Esk and Wear Valleys Foundation Trust, said a number of staff had “stepped away from our values”. HSJ has heard reports of 12 staff members within the trust’s forensic secure inpatient services being suspended in recent weeks, and some dismissed, after being caught sleeping on shifts and using electronic devices while meant to be observing patients. The reports are unconfirmed, but appear to be referenced in a message sent by Brent Kilmurray on 14 March, which said: “I’m sorry to say, there’s been a handful of people who have stepped away from our values and in doing so have now had to leave the organisation." Mr Kilmurray said the staff were in a “minority” and that when the trust investigated these matters “we have found far more excellent caring practice”. He added the trust is working with service leaders “to ensure that they understand their accountabilities for ensuring that services are safe”. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 14 April 2022
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