Vital to Support and Improve Nursing Care for Older People on the NHS; THE PROFESSIONALS

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Byline: Tin a Donnelly

THE RCN presented its annual special recognition award to Welsh board member Jan Evans at our biennial conference in Cardiff last week.

Jan works at Park House Court Nursing Home in Tenby, and has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of older people in Wales and in the independent healthcare sector.

When people think of healthcare, they immediately think of the NHS, but continuous nursing care, particularly for older people, is almost wholly provided by the independent sector.

The RCN in Wals es wants to see reform in the system of providing continuing NHS care, as many people with serious health conditions may not realise they may be eligible for fully-funded NHS care.

And nurses are struggling to implement the two-stage process for assessing continuing care health needs in a way that is clear and fair.

It is imperative that all people are assessed for continuing NHS care in exactly the same way across Wales and the unfair postcode lottery is ended.

Regulatory standards and expectations are quite rightly rising, yet many nursing homes are struggling to finance staff training and continuous professional development.

The Welsh Assembly Government should ensure that health organisations accurately assess the needs of their community for nursing care beds and for care in people's own homes from nurses who have knowledge of and experience in meeting the nursing needs of older people.

The limited and short-term nature of funding for nursing care beds in the independent sector results in pressures that may force care homes to close, creating a shortage of nursing care beds.

In turn this means that hospital patients are inappropriately transferred to a community setting or they are kept in hospital unnecessarily.

This is quite simply unacceptable and reflects a lack of care and consideration for the nursing care needs of the older person. …