RCN wants longer hospital visiting hours

 
Elderly patient The Royal College of Nursing said it did not want relatives performing nurses' tasks

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Hospital visiting times should be extended so patients' relatives can become more involved in their care, the Royal College of Nursing has said.

RCN head Peter Carter said he did not want relatives performing tasks nurses were employed to carry out, but that there were "real benefits" for patients when family members helped with care.

The Department of Health said family help needed to be alongside NHS care.

But patients' groups warned such a move could be "the tip of the iceberg".

'Amazing work'

Dr Carter, the RCN's general secretary, said the college was not suggesting families be compelled to carry out any tasks.

"We know that there are real benefits for patients where relatives can get involved in care, if that is what both the patient and family want," he said.

"We know from areas such as children's care that having familiar people involved at mealtimes for example can make hospital stays in particular less stressful for all concerned.

"What we would like to see is flexibility to allow relatives to help make patients comfortable, such as extending visiting times."

Department of Health chief nursing officer Christine Beasley praised the "amazing work" work of carers and relatives and welcomed their help but added: "This must be in addition to NHS care, not instead of it.

"Nurses should spend their time caring for patients and it is important to look at the way wards are run to help ensure this happens."

"I expect all hospitals to ensure that they are providing safe, high quality nursing care because this must be at the heart of the NHS."

Training call

But Patients Association chief executive Katherine Murphy said patient care - including helping with feeding and taking patients to the toilet - should be carried out by nurses.

"It is just the tip of the iceberg," she said. "Where will we draw the line?"

She added that some patients would not have families nearby or with the time to help out.

If there were not enough nurses to provide the care, then more nurses needed to be employed, she said.

Earlier this week, Dr Carter said the NHS had become too reliant on healthcare assistants who often end up doing more than the basic tasks they were employed to do.

He recommended better training and regulation of health care assistants.

 

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  • rate this
    +16

    Comment number 123.

    In most hospitals the visiting hours are strictly limited and exceptions given depending on circumstance by the staff nurses/sister in charge. Having extended/unlimited visiting is debilitating to patients as people have mentioned already. I recall 1 patient who had upwards of 40 visitors in his room. As a nurse, I'm very much opposed to unlimited visiting.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 122.

    35 years ago my very sick G'dad who had parkinson's and diabetes, was regularly left with his tray of food out of reach, we would arrive to find it cold and uneaten, also they would give him oranges which he did not have the grip to peel. Since then I have experienced similar failures with all age groups and make no assumptions on the care a patient will receive and assume they will need support.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 121.

    I feel an increase in visiting hours is a bad idea. There are many serious ill patients who need plenty of rest/sleep during the day. But I also understand they need to see there relatives as this plays an important part in there recovery. Currently at the hospital near me they have two visiting times 2- 4pm and 6-8pm which a feel is fine.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 120.

    106
    Yes, but I came across one of these so-called 'Modern Matrons' once . Her sole preoccupation was to get rid of my still-sick 97 year old father because she thought they needed the bed. Fortunately she was squashed by the personality of a hard-nosed Sister trained in the Commonwealth, who ignored her instruction and formally refused to discharge him. Exit Modern Matron, never to be seen again

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 119.

    No, "nurses" don't want longer visiting times. The head of an organisation which represents SOME nurses does.

  • rate this
    +16

    Comment number 118.

    Bad idea, RCN! My wife is an ICU nurse, and visiting hours are 7am-7pm. Nurses are constantly answering family members' buzzing the door to be let in. And once they're in, they're all over the place, constantly at the desk, questioning, demanding, taking nurses away from their other patients, and their charting. Also, the patients don't get needed rest. Bad idea for all concerned!

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 117.

    Agree totally with puddingandpi.If you are well enough to be bored, you are well enough to go home and recover there.Hospitals are not hotels. It's cheaper to watch TV, keep warm etc than being at home.In hospital I don't want to hear lots of people milling about. Rest and quiet, then when OK to be cared for by relatives etc, go home and vacate a bed for someone who is really ill.Awful idea.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 116.

    I think it would be a jolly good idea if nurses did the job they are paid for.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 115.

    I was on acute surgical ward. There was one nurse and one healthcare assistant for eight patients. They did not have the time to feed people who are unable to do so. Visiting times came after mealtimes, so relatives couldn't help. I was lucky I could see myself about my wife brought in appetising and tasty food, but I did have to wait until visiting time came around.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 114.

    One reason we're in the mess we are in now, with day-to-day hospital nursing care at an all-time low (in my family's quite prolonged experience at least) is that nursing is now a Degree subject. Nurses are thereby encouraged to see themselves not as carers, but as technicians or increasingly even as doctor substitutes. True nurses seem to be an endangered species, in our locality almost extinct.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 113.

    I was a HCA for 2 1/2 years & it's true that we did more than our trainin. I was chief HCA & told was my job to ensure others did everythin to ensure the nurses had time to do paperwork. We were often given a cup of drugs & told to ensure patient took them - nurses role that should never be left to HCAs. Visitin was cut from 2-6 to 2-3 & 5-6. Nurses never had time for patients, too much paperwork!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 112.

    I see is patient care getting in the way of their social life discussion groups? Does it go a bit like this: Get son, daughter, hubby, wife or whoever involved and Viola! There's someone else to blame for negligence, a master stroke of Machiavellian proportions! Who proposed this little gem Josef Mengele?

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 111.

    Does 'helping to make patients comfortable' include an 83 year old woman taking a wheelchair bound 85 yr old man to the toilet because there was only one nurse on the ward and she was too busy to do it? That is what my mum had to do more than once. The last time after a heart attack my sister went into the ward at mealtime and his mealtray was at the bottom of the bed where he couldn't reach it.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 110.

    In principal I am in favour of longer visiting hours. Hospitals can be intimidating, lonely and boring places. However, the worrying thing is by allowing or encouraging relatives to become 'more involved' in patients care does seem a perfect excuse for medical staff to take more of a back seat, which is a somewhat scary thought!

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 109.

    This suggestion is wrong. Yet another way, by stealth, to eliminate paying for highly qualified care from clinical staff. We are already experiencing shortages of doctors, nurses. .Many visitors in hospital, can be disturbing for patients . As a carer myself, I find these suggestions an insult. Caring at home is hard enough. The hospital should take full respondibility for patients,NOT carers.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 108.

    I agree that visiting hrs should be extended, but with control of how many family members. In Spain that's what happens, someone gets sick and the family stays around to help, but unlike here the hospitals have rooms of 2/3 people per room, and no wards. That will be more sensible if the NHS hospital were having rooms, as it will increase privacy.

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 107.

    Had I not been able to spend each day caring for my husband when he was seriously ill in hospital, I don't think he would be alive today! Barely awake, none of the staff ensured he ate or took fluids. I had to nag staff to get him nutrition, on a fluid drip, and the correct treatments. Nursing care was almost non existent. I care for him daily, all without the benefit of a nursing degree!

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 106.

    If they want longer visiting hours it will only make the Nurses more lazy. The relatives will end up doing everything for them. Nursing is not just giving pill ect , they are there to help them with allsorts of things. What is needed is a Matron like Hatty Jakes in The Carry On Films. She would kick these Nurses into order. They don't know what the terms Nursing means anymore.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 105.

    All we have here are the opinions of the leaders of two different groups. Have either of them consulted patients and nurses to ask what they want?
    I would have no wish to carry out the nursing or personal care of a relative in hospital but there have been times when I would have liked more opportunites to speak to the doctors looking after them.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 104.

    A parthersgip between family, friends and the medical professionals has got too be positive as it addresses the whole person and their needs. Happy patients will hopefully get better more quickly, be discharged, and free up beds for others in need. If true, everybody including the overworked nursing staff will gain.

 

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