Healthcare is in a perpetual state of change. As such, one of the greatest challenges nursing faces is the ever-present need to reconfigure practice to ensure the provision of the right care to the right person, in the right setting, at the right time. Never has this been more evident than now in the face of an ageing population. Over the last decade, a transformation has occurred in our healthcare systems, resulting in the care of older people being the norm rather than the exception. Regrettably, research has demonstrated that, within general hospital wards, this age group of people is not being adequately cared for (Bridges et al., 2009b; Health Advisory Service, 2000; Mezey et al., 2007; Nolan and Tolson, 2000). Poorly applied care practices are being found throughout the caring services, in which the basic care principles such as feeding and attention to personal hygiene have been overlooked while technological care has made considerable advances. Within busy acute care settings, this change in practice has resulted in older patients experiencing (Courtney et al., 2000; Nolan and Tolson, 2000):

Recognising that basic care principles have been neglected and that the ageing population is bringing with it a further need for change, the pressure is on to reconfigure our current practice. The end goal is to meet all the needs, both advanced and basic, of our patients and proactively set in place longstanding practices that will ensure that our health and social care systems get services right for older people (Philp, 2003).