Matthew’s Book

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‘Matthew’s Book’ is a small project but it has generated a big response. The book is on an iPad. It provides a multi-media guide to Matthew and his needs. The book will follow Matthew wherever he goes, including hospital, to ensure that all staff working with him can quickly find out about the essential aspects of his care .. and what good practice means for him. Continue reading

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Florence Nightingale was right!

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’.

Why don’t people speak up?

Watching Dispatches on Channel 4 about the failings of surgeon Ian Paterson, we have to ask again why more people didn’t speak up about something that plainly was going wrong. There must have been many people involved in his operations and their aftermath. Clearly, intimidation is an issue and fear of reprisals. Also, there is the way in which a man with such authority, power and self-confidence can make others doubt their own judgement. We’ve proposed on this site that the web app Care Comments could help. Through Care Comments people submit their observations in a low-risk way to service commissioners. In the Paterson case we might suppose that observations would have been submitted from .. fellow surgeons, theatre colleagues, ward staff, referring GPs, Macmillan nurses etc. With such a volume of data that cross references and triangulates to confirm a problem, the imperative to take action is strong. It’s not the only solution, but it is worth consideration.