Will volunteer success deliver the elusive Holy Grail of PPI?

Liz Charalambous is a qualified nurse on a female, acute medical HCOP (Health Care for Older People) ward at Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham University Hospital Trust.

Having nursed in different areas for over 30 years, she currently balances her time between clinical work, research into the prevention of delirium and studying for a MSc. in Advanced Nursing at the University of Nottingham.

Here she discusses whether PPI (Patient and Public Involvement) can contribute to person-centred care. Liz tweets from @lizcharalambou

Recent media coverage highlights loneliness in the elderly population and how some organisations are taking steps to combat this, such as the ‘Be a friend’ campaign launched recently by Friends of the Elderly http://www.beafriendtoday.org.uk/ . Patients and relatives must breathe a sigh of relief that when their loved one is admitted into hospital, at least they will be surrounded by others and therefore not at risk of loneliness.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Despite NICE guidelines for Delirium (2010) https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg103 and Dementia (2006) http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg042 calling for the involvement of families, as well as the much-vaunted Holy Grail of PPI (Patient and Public Involvement) post Francis, many older people remain at risk of confusion and developing delirium purely by virtue of the fact they are over 65 years of age and clinically unwell. Staff are very often tied up with the clinical side, and rightly so. A blocked airway, arrhythmias, acute kidney injury and clinical deterioration remain a priority over holding someone’s hand. Continue reading