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New research at the University of Southampton set to examine how patient-involvement can improve NHS hospital care.

25 September 2017

A team of researchers based at the University of Southampton is looking at how to improve care for patients in hospitals, by involving them in decisions about their care.


Professor Lisette Schoonhoven, an expert in healthcare, leads the new research study.


Professor Schoonhoven says. “A series of investigations (such as the Francis Inquiry) have shown the quality of care in NHS hospitals varies enormously. For patients, the consequences of poor fundamental care can be devastating, leading to suffering, long-term disability and avoidable death


Research suggests hospital care can be safer when patients are involved, but patients can worry about seeming ‘difficult’ when asking for what they want.”


The National Institute for Health Research funds the study – NIHR is the research arm of the NHS.


In order to develop plans for improving fundamental care, researchers started by asking a range of patients, carers and members of the public how they thought it could improve. They said they wanted their care to be more tailored to their needs and to get more involved in care choices.


Essential aspects of care like taking on enough fluids, skin care, going to the toilet, keeping active, stopping bedsores from developing and eating healthily are known as ‘fundamental care’ and are essential to patient recovery and wellbeing.


As a result researchers at Southampton have launched the new study called “Improving Fundamental Care in Hospitals”, which aims to make it easier for patients to get involved in decisions about their care.


The research team are now looking for people who have stayed in hospital to be part of this important new research. Volunteers would be asked to chat to researchers and others about their views on hospital care.


Dr Jo Hope, a Research Fellow from the project says “The views of people who have recently been in hospital are central to improving care. Understanding how to make it easier for patients to be involved in choices about their care and how nurses can support that is crucial.”                                                                               (More follows)


Previous research in the UK and elsewhere shows that three things have worked – separately - to increase patient involvement and improve care. These are:


  • ·      Training for nurses on hospital wards to improve how they support patients
  • ·      A feedback card for patients to record what is important to them about their care
  • ·      A tool to help patients understand and choose from different care options

In the Improving Fundamental Care in Hospitals study, Professor Lisette Schoonhoven’s team will use these three things together to see if they improve patient involvement in care. Her team will be working with wards across the South of England to see if this will make a difference to patients’ views about the care they receive and their health when they leave hospital. The results from this study will be used to help the team plan a larger, nationwide trial to improve fundamental care in hospitals.

If you have been in hospital within the last two years and are interested in chatting to researchers about your experiences, please email Dr Lisa Gould at or call 02380 595292. Expenses and lunch will be provided as well as a gift voucher to say thank you.

Patient and public involvement is vital to the success of the CLAHRC.

We would be pleased to hear from you if you are interested in becoming involved in our research and implementation.

How can I get involved?