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All healthcare professionals directly involved in patient care should receive education and training, relevant to their post, on the importance of:

  • providing adequate and appropriate nutrition
  • assessing and managing pain.

Ensure that the patient’s nutrition and hydration are adequate at all times, if the patient is unable to manage this themselves, by:

  • providing regular food and fluid of adequate quantity and quality in an environment conducive to eating
  • placing food and drink where the patient can reach them easily
  • encouraging and helping the patient to eat and drink if needed
  • providing appropriate support, such as modified eating and/or drinking aids.

If a patient is unable to manage their own pain relief:

  • do not assume that pain relief is adequate
  • ask them regularly about pain
  • assess pain using a pain scale if necessary (for example, on a scale of 1 to 10)
  • provide pain relief and adjust as needed.

Ensure that the patient’s personal needs (for example, relating to continence, personal hygiene and comfort) are regularly reviewed and addressed. Regularly ask patients who are unable to manage their personal needs what help they need. Address their needs at the time of asking and ensure maximum privacy.

Relative values of different outcomes
Trade off between clinical benefits and harmsThe GDG considered no harms were likely.
Economic considerationsThe GDG considered that while some of these recommendations had potential cost implications, for example in terms of training or additional nursing time, these are fundamental aspects of good patient care.
Quality of evidenceEvidence from NHS surveys, Framework review and scoping studies, sources, previous NICE guidelines and GDG consensus indicates the importance of these for patient experience.
Other considerationsThe GDG used professional and personal experience to develop these recommendations which refer to day patients and inpatients. The GDG considered it essential to ensure that patients’ nutritional and personal needs are appropriately met.
The GDG regarded the area of pain management as being an area where practice could be improved. The GDG recognised and were keen to express the importance of using a pain scale to assess the pain the patient is experiencing, but this did not need to be a validated scale. Simple scoring mechanisms such as 1 out of 10 could be very useful for individual patients. The GDG considered that it was essential for the healthcare professionals to have a non- judgemental attitude towards pain management and treat every patient as an individual The GDG also wished to emphasise the importance of both ensuring patient privacy when attending to patients personal needs and dealing with those needs promptly.

From: 7, Essential requirements of care

Cover of Patient Experience in Adult NHS Services: Improving the Experience of Care for People Using Adult NHS Services
Patient Experience in Adult NHS Services: Improving the Experience of Care for People Using Adult NHS Services: Patient Experience in Generic Terms.
NICE Clinical Guidelines, No. 138.
National Clinical Guideline Centre (UK).
Copyright © 2012, National Clinical Guideline Centre.

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