Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Hospital care


To day I am giving a talk about dementia to trainee nurses, and how they can help people like us and their carers, if we are ever admitted to one of these places, something I confess to dreading.

I say that because in 2001 I was admitted to a large general hospital with a viral pneumonia, and I have had problems forgetting the experience.

The story as it happened, and was all recorded in a diary at the time
I have not had any experience of dementia in General Hospitals, but in 2001 when I was taken in to hospital with Viral Pneumonia, and I experienced something that was enough to put me off going near a general hospital ever again.

This all started when I was admitted at tea time and was given an unmade bed. Around an hour later I was given a drip, and was then told by a consultant that I would be having an x-ray. At around 11pm, and still without a made up bed, I was taken for an x-ray, after which I was told that I could go to bed.

However when I returned to the ward there were no staff present, so I had to attempt to make the bed on my own, with the drip in on arm. To add insult to injury, the next morning, the young staff nurse complained to me about the state of my bed, and said something like; I should have found a member of staff to make the bed up.

Later on the second night, I was then transferred to a different hospital where they dealt with chest infections, and after two days noticed that the lady cleaning the toilets was also rushing back to serve meals? This did not give me very much confidence, as the toilets were dirty, and I had to clean one before using it. The baths also had air beds in them, so you had to take them out to get a bath.

I complained to one young doctor who said that I would possibly get better faster at home than in those conditions. A few weeks later the same hospital was given warning that it would be closed if it was not cleaned up.

But by then I was told that I had released myself from the hospital so the doctors did not want to know anymore. It took a long time before we were able to explain it all to our own GP what had happened, and it was only then that they actually believed that I had been treated so badly.

Around two months later that hospital which actually catered for chest infections, was given a warning by the authorities, that it would be closed down if it did not make significant changes. Needless to say it was totally rebuilt.

So in more ways than one I was lucky that I did not have dementia at that stage, as I cannot remember how I managed to get my pyjamas on that night. So just imagine what would have happened if I had dementia at that stage.

One Aunt used to be a Ward Sister and her sister was a State Registered Nurse, before they gave it up to have children, and they were both horrified at hearing this story. Both tried to work out just how I managed to get my pyjama's on let alone make the bed on my own.

One thing the really annoys me about British hospitals is their habit of having nurses stations in the corridor well away from the patients, so they do not have to watch what is going on.

However I have heard recently, that some hospitals are changing that, by either having a nurses station actually on the ward where it was years ago, so they can supervise the patients properly, or in some cases they are doing away with them.

So we will wait to see what happens today

 

Good day at Northumbria University

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