21 December 2018

When should you check on a resident at nighttime?

The routine checking of residents during the nighttime hours has been common practice in care homes. However, it's an institutional practice that actually contradicts the notion of person-centred care, which is paramount to us at Newcross.

To help you ascertain who you should check on, checking arrangements can be divided into three kinds...

There are residents who:

  • Agree to minimal checking
  • Request or decline to have no checking carried out,
  • Need formal checking by entering the room and ensuring the individual is safe.

By its nature, nighttime is when people value their privacy and dignity the most. Staff should be aware of not only the possible disruption to the person being checked but to others in the area who might be disturbed by any lights or noise. They should make sure that they do not switch main lights on unless it is absolutely necessary to do so.

Suitable appliances, such as torches, may be used so that agreed tasks can be carried out without disruption. 

A resident, who does not require any other care during the night, should not be checked without their prior agreement. That decision should then be recorded on their care plan. The reasons for any checking should be recorded at the time without exception.

There should always be an assessment of the risks and benefits to the individual concerned. For example, an agreement will need to be reached with someone who does not want to be checked, but who is likely to be incontinent if left unattended during the night, the best way of helping them manage their discomfort.

The selective use of assistive technology such as sensor mats and “acoustic monitoring systems” might also reduce the need for regular physical checking and the disruption that it brings. 

Sources

* Providing Good Care at Night for Older People: Practical Approaches (2011), Kerr D and Wilkinson H, Jessica Kingsley, available at www.jkp.com

* Croner-i Ltd