Care Campaign

On the 9th November 2011, Angela Rippon OBE, Vice President of the Patients Association launched the CARE Campaign.

The Patients Association launched a campaign to improve fundamental patient care. The campaign is based on the four most frequent concerns that we receive from patients, their relatives and carers regarding poor care. These include patients not being helped to go the toilet; not given sufficient pain relief; not given sufficient nutritional intake; and experiencing inadequate communication (e.g. call bells being ignored). The campaign recognises that everyone who goes into hospital or a care home is entitled to these fundamental aspects of care.

There have been too many reports, commissions and pledges that come to nothing. Now it is time for action from the ward to the Board.


Sign up to the Care Campaign

The CARE Challenge: As a minimum, all patients should get assistance when they call for help, encouragement to eat and drink, assistance with going to the toilet, and have their pain addressed.

Care stands for:

C – communicate with compassion
A – assist with toileting, ensuring dignity
R – relieve pain effectively
E – encourage adequate nutrition

Care campaign hands image

Care Campaign

The CARE slogan is simple, easy to remember and also useful. We hope patients, relatives and nurses will use this Care slogan as a care checklist. Patients can use it to challenge poor care; If a zero tolerance approach to all four of these concerns was adopted, it would transform patient experience in the UK. Relatives would feel less concerned for their loved ones while they were being cared for and recovery would be enhanced. We recognise that there are many good health care workers who care passionately about providing a good quality service to their patients. What makes this campaign unique is that nurses and patients are coming together to tackle this issue. We want nurses and patients to be at the heart of this debate and help us pin point the cause of these care failures and help identify the solutions. Now you can see if your local Hospital has signed up. Click below to find your hospital!

Practices in CARE Review

In September 2012, we published a best practice report bringing together ideas from Trusts from around the country who since signing up to the Care Campaign are taking innovative action to improve patient care. The report, Practices in CARE Review, looked at specific examples as well as general trends in what Trusts are doing. These included a new focus on patient engagement at East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust which has led to a 70% reduction in ‘attitude related complaints, improved patient privacy and dignity…patient involvement in decision making and overall satisfaction.’

The report also highlights some particular examples of good practice in supporting nutrition, such as Blackpool, Flyde and Wyre Hospitals Foundation Trust where a ‘nutrition mission’ has taken place to highlight the value of mealtime and at the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust where they developed their own take on Channel Four television programme ‘Come Dine with Me’.

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust introduced designated ‘Dignity Champions’ to uphold care standards whilst Dorset Country Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has improved its signage around the hospital so patients with poor sight or dementia are able to find the toilets more easily.

Finally, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust established a ‘Caring at its Best Project’ focused on improving pain relief, treatment and management. Patients and carers feedback about their experiences has been a central driver, and improvements have been implemented at a ward level. A ‘Cannot Verbally Express (CCVE) Pie Chart’ has also been developed to help staff identify a patient in pain but who may not be able to communicate.

In addition to these specific examples, we found that:

85% of Trusts have adopted nurse led intentional rounds – this involves regular checking of patients which leads to improvements in patient care and levels of satisfaction.

28% of Trusts who responded said they have grown their current patient feedback scheme or introduced one.

31%of respondents to our survey noted the use and/or expansion of eating aids on wards to alert staff on those wards which patients need help with eating and drinking.

Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of the Patients Association said, “This is a really positive report, pulling together examples of best practice in patient care across the Country. Despite the challenges the NHS faces and the deeply concerning stories the charity hears from patients through our helpline every day, the vast majority of Trusts and healthcare professionals are working really hard on behalf of patients.

By doing more to share best practice the NHS can save money, and most importantly deliver better care and outcomes for patients, putting patients at the heart of the care they receive. These findings are a contribution to that aspiration and a must read for Government, Trusts and clinicians. The full best practice report is on our website for download and we would encourage everyone to look at the examples of the really good practice that is going on across the country.”

You can download the full report by clicking here.

Emergency meeting

Care Campaign Meeting

Care Campaign Meeting

As part of this unique collaboration the Patients Association and the Nursing Standard magazine came together to jointly host an emergency roundtable meeting, chaired by our Vice President, Dr Phil Hammond (GP, campaigner and broadcaster).You can view a video of highlights from the meeting on the Nursing Standard website: Click here to watch a video of highlights from the meeting Key stakeholders including the UK’s top nurses, policy experts, patient champions as well as doctors and managers, were informed that our Helpline, continually deals with a large and varied number of enquiries from patients, carers, health workers and the public. One of the most common concerns raised is that of poor care. We have seen a 37 per cent increase in calls regarding poor care since Jan 2011. We have analysed the calls and recognise four main areas of concern that patients, carers and relatives repeatedly tell us about. They are:

  • Patients are not assisted to eat and drink;
  • Patients are left without pain relief;
  • Patients are not helped to go to the toilet;
  • Patient call bells are left unanswered

We know that failure to provide any of these four essential elements of care can be very distressing for elderly patients some of whom are receiving end of life care, as well as for their carers and relatives. To address these important issues we knew it would be timely for us to work with key stakeholders to examine how we might ensure these four essential elements of care are not overlooked by health care staff. Our joint aim in hosting the emergency meeting was to open up a dialogue between patients and the health care profession and agree some urgent priorities for action.

 Campaign Aims

  • For nursing staff in hospitals to adopt the CARE Challenge, based on our four point tool
  • To highlight obstacles nurses face in delivering the CARE Challenge
  • For organisations to sign up to the CARE Challenge
  • For patients to recognise the CARE checklist and use it to challenge poor care
  • To support nurses who expose failures to deliver the fundamentals of CARE

For the next two years, the CARE Campaign will instigate discussion and debate. We recognise that a solution needs to be found. The Nursing Standard magazine will continue to highlight good practice and give publicity to measures that nurses and others are taking to enable nursing to be the best it can be. Our ambition is to see an end to poor patient care. A dialogue between nurses and patients is now open and is crucial to achieving the highest standards of care that every UK patient is entitled to.

Visit the Nursing Standard CARE Campaign website

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