Community nurses 'vital role' in quality acute care
Primary care nurses have a “fantastic opportunity” to impact healthcare quality across the NHS if more care is arranged in the community.
At the Nursing Workforce Conference in London yesterday (13 February 2013), key nursing leaders claimed health visitors and district nurses have a “vital role”.
‘Quality nursing in the community’
"We need to focus on delivering quality nursing in the community," Crystal Oldman, Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) chief executive told Nursing in Practice.
“Those with complex needs need to be cared for in the community and as nurses we need to be able to support those who wish to die at home to do so.”
Chief Nursing Officer Jane Cummings said: “Nurses in primary care have an absolutely fantastic opportunity to support patients to stay independent and stay at home, particularly around public health, long term conditions and co-ordinating care.”
Focus on community care
A QNI statistic shows 90% of patient contact happens in the community, making it an area that must be “focused” on, according to Oldman.
Dr Peter Carter, Royal College of Nursing chief executive said the NHS has not evolved to meet the needs of a changing demographic.
He said: “Many of the preventable conditions which cause older people to go into hospital could have been avoided if there was a better infrastructure in the community.”
Recommendations for primary care nurses to implement were less clear. Ruth Holt, Director of Nursing at the NHS Confederation said “difficult decisions must be made.”
Holt said: “We know patients want their services closer to home and if it’s clinically right we need to find ways to deliver that.
“But that does mean there may be some very difficult decisions around acute care provision going forward.”
Crystal Oldman, Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) said: “We need to listen to the primary care workforce to tell us how it needs to be shaped – a lot of listening needs to be done.
“In theory, bringing commissioning closer to the community will help acute care, although I know we have yet to see it play out.”