Well it looks like Florence Nightingale was right after all when she subjected her patients to a regime of sunshine and fresh air. An item in this week’s New Scientist cites research confirming the bacteria-killing qualities of these two commodities. The value of sunshine and fresh air is receiving greater attention at a time when the classic antibiotics are becoming less effective. As the article says, “.. perhaps we can prepare for the looming post-antibiotic era by taking some lessons from the pre-antibiotic age.” One of the researchers writes, “Hospitals of the future should be designed to allow windows to be opened and perhaps patients to be pushed outside in their beds.”
The reality for thousands of people in care homes, nursing homes and hospitals is something rather different. Thousands of older people in particular spend most of their days in stuffy, stale, airless environments. It seems to show up a lack of interest in the quality of the physical environment once a person finds themselves ‘in care’. CQC’s Essential Standards of Quality and Safety runs to 274 pages but says little about environments that support physical and mental health. Perhaps it’s time to look at the scientific evidence and revise our view of ‘good care’.