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Improvements underway to enhance privacy and dignity for patients in Berwick

Wednesday, 15 July, 2015
Improvements underway to enhance privacy and dignity for patients in Berwick

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has today confirmed improvements which are currently taking place to enhance the privacy and dignity for patients who require a hospital stay in Berwick Infirmary.

As part of its continued focus on patient safety and quality of care, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust regularly organises ward ‘walk arounds’ whereby the trust’s senior matrons and members of the executive team visit wards and departments to view the care setting from the patient’s perspective.  The aim of these is to continually assess ward environments to ensure they meet and exceed the expectations of local patients and continuously raise standards.   

Following the most recent visit to Ward 1 at Berwick Infirmary earlier this month, a number of immediate improvements were identified after the dated ward environment was found to be unacceptably crowded with some patient beds encroaching too closely to the central thoroughfare of ward activity.  This has resulted in patients having little privacy or room for visitors and has also impacted on patients’ abilities to rest when located so close to the main walkway.

Immediate steps have therefore been taken to address the privacy and dignity concerns raised which has involved reducing the number of beds on Ward 1 from 30 to 24 to create more private space around patient bed areas.  This change will not impact negatively on patient care or mean Berwick Infirmary is unable to receive patients as the ward has historically operated at 75% capacity. 

On the contrary, Northumbria Healthcare is confident that this change will further enhance the experience of patients and visitors on Ward 1 at Berwick Infirmary as the reduction in beds has allowed the trust to improve nurse staffing ratios so that nursing teams can focus on providing more personalised care for patients.

In addition to this, immediate improvements have also been identified for the bathroom facilities on Ward 1 with plans in progress to renovate these and work starting as soon as next month. 

The dayroom on Ward 1 will also receive a ‘makeover’ and plans are now in place working with the trust’s Bright Charity to create a welcoming therapeutic area which will encourage more social interaction and group activities as elderly patients are recovering in hospital.

Rosemary Stephenson, director of nursing at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “As an organisation we are passionate about putting our patients first, listening to their views, respecting their privacy and dignity and really understanding their experience of care with us. 

“We know that the hospital environment plays a really important part in that overall experience of care and in our patients’ recoveries.  After visiting our ward in Berwick recently, we felt that the dated environment was having a detrimental impact for those patients whose beds were located so close to the main hustle and bustle of ward activity. The improvements underway will greatly improve both staff and patient experience all round.”

Across the NHS, as more patients are cared for with appropriate support in their own homes, the average length of stay in hospital beds is reducing and should be viewed as a positive step forward as more care becomes truly personalised and patient centred.

As plans develop for the new Berwick Infirmary, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has been liaising closely with clinical teams to get their views on how services can work best in a new, fit-for-purpose, 21st century healthcare facility with patient privacy and dignity top of the agenda.  The trust is also continuing to work with all health and social care partners, including local GPs who may also work from the new hospital site.


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