Do hourly hospital ward rounds improve hospital care, questions Professor Ruth Harris in her NIHR study.

ruth_harrisLed by Ruth Harris, Professor of Nursing Practice and Innovation from the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, researchers from Kingston University and St George’s, University of London are examining whether hourly ward rounds really do help deliver safe, compassionate, patient-centred care.

Professor Harris and her team received a grant of almost £450,000 from the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR). They will survey all NHS trusts in England to find out how many have adopted a system of ward rounds and how these are being implemented. The research team will then select both an acute and an elderly care ward in three different hospitals to conduct further, in-depth research with staff, patients and those close to them. They will observe how ward rounds are undertaken – whether by one member of staff or several and whether those staff are qualified nurses or healthcare assistants. They will examine how the rounds fit with other staff commitments, such as caring for individual patients and attending team meetings and training. They will also talk to staff and patients to get their views on whether the rounds improve their experiences. The team hopes to discover what works well, and in what circumstances, and aims to produce a set of good practice guidelines that can be shared with all healthcare trusts.

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