Research published in a recent report by the BMJ Quality and Safety Journal suggests that initiatives such as the logging of missed care tasks can provide an early warning for healthcare managers, alerting them to the fact that systems may be failing.
The government is currently making plans to fulfil one of its flagship manifesto pledges, namely to integrate health and social care services in a more 'joined up' approach.
Health Minister Jeremy Hunt has vowed to bring about "a step change in services offered through GP surgeries, community care and social care" and his comments have been broadly welcomed by a wide range of health and social care providers.
Recent research figures have provided stark evidence that some care homes are failing to ensure that residents consume enough fluids for their health.
The data, released by the University of Oxford, Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, was drawn from 20,000 elderly and infirm patients aged 65 years and over. Focusing on individuals admitted to a London hospital trust for the first time between January 2011 and December 2013, the research showed that a significant number of admissions from care homes had high levels of sodium in their bloodstream.
A few weeks ago, Health Minister Jeremy Hunt vowed to deal with "rip-off" charges made by nursing agencies by limiting the amount the NHS spends on its agency staff. Hot on his heels, David Cameron announced new immigration laws meaning workers recruited from outside the EU since 2011 who earn less than £35,000 a year after six years will have to go home. To avoid any doubt, that means that 30,000 overseas nurses face the axe from the NHS. So where do care homes get the staff they need?