‘Open’ visiting at a Doncaster hospital ward boosts patient care says top doctor

Doncaster Royal Infirmary Mallard Ward team (I-r): Toni Parkes, Michelle Appleton, Joanne Sayles,Emma Parkes, Martha Amoc and Dr Rod Kersh
Doncaster Royal Infirmary Mallard Ward team (I-r): Toni Parkes, Michelle Appleton, Joanne Sayles,Emma Parkes, Martha Amoc and Dr Rod Kersh

Flexible visiting hours have helped boost care on a Doncaster hospital ward, says an expert doctor.

The Mallard Ward at Doncaster Royal Infirmary, which cares for people living with delirium and dementia, reached a landmark of 1,000 days without a serious, hospital-acquired, pressure ulcer.

Bosses say an important part of the success is ‘open’ visiting times for relatives and carers who can visit at any time of the day or night because they look out for patient safety.

Pressure ulcers, also known as bed sores, develop when the skin and underlying tissue becomes damaged usually from being confined to lying in a bed or sitting for long periods of time.

They can range in severity from patches of discoloured skin to open wounds which can cause distress to both patients and their carers. With the correct knowledge, skills and expertise, many of these sores can be avoided.

Led by Dr Rod Kersh, consultant in holistic and person-centred medicine for older people, Mallard Ward staff worked with the hospital’s skin integrity team and studied every part of pressure ulcer development. They identified the risks of their patients getting a sore and introduced new ways of working and awareness, to cut down on incidences of the uncomfortable ulcers.

Mallard Ward staff have been trained in skin care and the types of dressings to use when patient’s skin is at risk of damage.

Patients are encouraged to move away from their beds in the ward which has ensuite rooms and open living spaces.

Eating well is also an important part of healthy skin and patients are given meals that they enjoy in the ward’s dining room, complete with china plates and tea cups.

Dr Kersh said: “We are absolutely delighted to have reached this landmark. I am very proud of the team who have strived with such passion to constantly enhance care and prevent these painful pressure ulcers. Each day, as a team, we aspire to do better than the one before.”