STAFFORD Hospital has been praised by a health watchdog for introducing improvements on a specialist ward.
It follows an inspection of Ward 10 last May by Staffordshire Link which found cluttered corridors and poor response to call bells.
The discharge procedure on the ward, which is used for older people with conditions such as dementia, was found to be too slow because of delays arranging prescriptions.
Patient information was also posted on an information board in public view.
Link made several recommendations and the results of a subsequent visit in January have now been published.
They reveal significant improvements including far less clutter in the corridors, with equipment and trolleys now kept in store cupboards.
Patients and relatives reported better response times to call bells after the introduction of a new monitoring procedure.
The patient status noticeboard had been moved to a private area and a pharmacist now visits the ward daily and is on call to ensure staff, outgoing patients and relatives know what medication should be taken at home.
Lynne Gammon, of Staffordshire Link, said: “The expansion of a discharge liaison team has also helped improve the experience of patients, relatives and staff alike. All responses to call bells are now analysed on a weekly basis, and the feedback we received showed this has helped a lot.
“It’s easy to criticise health services when things go wrong, but we think it’s important to give credit where it’s due. The team on Ward 10 has made great strides and we’d like to thank all the staff for that.” Further enhancements are in progress including a new day room and activity hub which is being developed as a place for patients to socialise.
Dementia memory boxes have been made up by the liaison nurse to stimulate patients’ memories. These include ration books, favourite old books, make-up, kitchen utensils and photographs.
Will Taylor, chairman of Staffordshire Link said: “The patients on Ward 10 have acute and complex needs, and it’s reassuring to know staff there are so committed to continuous improvement”.
Julie Hendry, director of quality and patient experience at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We know that the improvements which have been made on Ward 10 are making a difference to patients, particularly the most vulnerable people, such as those who suffer from dementia.
“We need to make sure that the good work we have seen on Ward 10 and other wards continues and that we provide this sort of care consistently.”