Standards of care for elderly patients at Victoria Hospital have once again been highligted in a damning report published last week.
The findings, revealed by Healhcare Improvement Scotland follow an unannounced inspection at the Kirkcaldy hospital in June.
The visit was prompted by a similar visit in December in which inspectors found one patient had been denied food for 10 days because staff were unable to fit a feeding tube.
Yet, despite the introduction of an NHS Fife improvemtyn action plan, inspectors on wards 13, 42 and 44 found staff were still neglecting to identify cases of malnutrition by failing to weigh patients on admission, failing to update records and failing to carry out instructions from dieticians.
In particular, one patient who had been classed as being at low risk of malnutrition had their care plan updated 26 days after admission, at the request of inspectors, and was found to have a weight loss of six kilograms.
Another patient was found to have suffered a 19 per cent weight loss 24 days after being admitted.
Following the December 2013 inspection Healthcare Improvement Scotland stipulated that NHS Fife record the height and weight of all patients within 24 hours of admission
However in June, “Of 14 patient health records reviewed, only four pateints had received nutritional screening witin 24 hours of admission to hospital.”
Previous areas earmarked for improvement, namely ensuring patients have a personalised nutritional care plan, and ensuring patients’ intake of food and fluid be accurately recorded, remain areas of concern.
In addition, inspectors are now calling on NHS Fife to introduce a clear plan of care for patients with complex issues.
Acute services Director Heather Knox said a new action plan was in place and NHS Fife was “ working hard to to address issues raised and progress is being made.”
She added:“We are pleased that the report highlights the improvements made to the management of patient mealtimes, the calm and orgnaised manner of lunchtimes on our wards and the positive input of our dietetic services and speech and language therapists.”