Stirling University to lead UK's largest patient care study

Nurse at desk Nurses will be questioned on how they perceive the standard of care on wards

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The University of Stirling is to lead the UK's largest ever study into patient experiences and the delivery of frontline health care.

About 6000 patients and almost 1000 nurses and health professionals will take part in the Improving Patient Experience of Care (IPEC) project.

The two year study will also involve academics from Dundee and Glasgow Caledonian universities.

The researchers hope the results can be used to improve patient care.

IPEC's principal researcher is Prof Brian Williams, Director of the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals Research Unit.

Improving care

Prof Williams said: "There have been a number of major initiatives in recent years designed to help frontline healthcare staff improve the care experience.

"Our study aims to evaluate whether these initiatives are working for nurses and patients, and importantly, what can be done by the NHS to support staff in improving the care experience."

The first health board to participate in the study will be NHS Tayside.

Hospital patients on 30 surgical and medical wards will be asked to fill out a questionnaire during their stay, with a follow up questionnaire one month later.

Questions will cover a number of issues such as standards of care, ward environment, pain control and wellbeing.

Understanding care

The study will also ask nurses about their own wellbeing, how they perceive the standard of care on wards and whether they think their working culture supports good caring.

Prof Martyn Jones from the University of Dundee, who will lead the NHS Tayside arm of the study, said: "To help health professionals to deliver good quality care, we need to understand how the care climate in each ward affects staff well-being and care provision.

"This study will capture patient and staff experiences of the effect of these initiatives and identify what works best."

NHS Tayside Nurse Director, Dr Margaret McGuire, said: "NHS Tayside has tested and introduced a variety of initiatives aimed at improving patient experience of care and outcomes, and we are delighted to work with Professors Williams and Jones on this important study."

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