Over the last couple of months mum has been in hospital twice, two different hospitals. Now I think we are extremely lucky to live in a country with a free health service and am very grateful for the care my mum have received but I found the difference in the staffs manor at the different hospitals amazing and saddening too.
Where my mother lives she has a choice of two hospitals. The first time she went in I didn’t realise this and just followed the ambulance. If I hadn’t kept asking I don’t know how long they would have left her in A&E in her own urine (they knew she had had an accident as I heard the paramedic tell the nurse) and when they did eventually helped with cleaning her it was made obvious that this was an inconvenience. The second day when I visited her I was greeted by a nurse wanting to know why I didn’t answer my phone, it hasn’t rung I said and asked to check the number. They had been ringing my mothers empty flat even though I had given my contact details the night before. The reason they had rung was to find out what medication my mum is on, did you not get the blister pack I gave the paramedics I asked. The answer what oh yes but wondered if she had any changes to the tablets, no I answered, have you rung her GP who prescribes the medicine. No the nurse said we thought you would know! I could see that they were very busy and as there was no toilets on the ward asked where they were as mum wanted to go, to be told that I couldn’t take her (health and safety) and the nurses where to busy. I’m sorry to say that I did lose my temper a bit and said that it was no problem because if she had an accident they would have to clean it up. A nurse suddenly appeared and took her, left her for mum to wander back on her own, health and safety must only be in place on your way to the toilet!
You could see that the nurses are under pressure and I never saw a doctor however little things like a smile and a quick hello as they walked into the wards was none existent. I know that you are in hospital to receive medical care which they did but sometimes a little bit more would be nice.
The second hospital visit was completely different to the point mum didn’t want to leave. Again she was brought in by ambulance but the sister on the ward as they were getting mum settled went through a form with my asking basic questions about how mum’s Alzheimer’s is, for example can she wash herself, does she need a stick to walk. Just little things but it is so the nurses know what level of care she needs. They explained all the tests to both me and mum and just did things like put a blanket over her knees when she was sat in the wheelchair. The improvement in mum was amazing, not just the medical side but her speech which she struggles with seemed to come back slightly, she asked questions which is something she hasn’t done for a while and I think it is because the nurse spoke to her. Just listening how they were with the other patients was great, having a bit of joke with some of them and making them giggle and I felt they genuinely cared.
All in all it has been a bit of an eye opener. I don’t want to come across as bashing the NHS as I really do think we are so lucky. The medical care was the same in each hospital yet the patient care in second one was truly great and I really feel it had nothing to do with budgets or funding it was all in their attitude and manor.