I was reading News of the World the other day because it was lying about, not because I make a habit of it! I came across a couple of articles on the state of the NHS care of our elderly.
Carole Malone was ranting on about how nurses and doctors don't seem to care any more and are more concerned with filling out paperwork than caring for elderly patients.
OK well that may seem to be true from the outside but from the inside it's a different story. She may well be able to sit there in her ivory tower and pass judgement.
She is referring to elderly patients who couldn't help themselves and were left 'thirsty and starving' with nurses 'chatting on corridors' and not giving a stuff about them.
I cannot speak for the nurses involved but from my perspective working on general medical wards is a thankless task. Apparently one lady in the news was calling out for water and her relatives said she had to be coaxed to drink. There were probably 3 nurses to about 30 patients and taking time to coax someone to drink is very difficult. The lady was probably offered food and water several times but if she refused, nurses cannot force her to eat. That is abuse. She suffers from dementia too and probably didn't like being cared for by a stranger either. It was probably a very frightening experience. Apparently her daughter was her full time carer so where was she while her mother was in hospital?
I know visiting is restricted but if my mother was suffering and needed help eating and drinking I would insist on being there. I cared for my mother whilst she was in hospital. I washed her, dressed her and did all the basic care for her because she only wanted me to do it. Asian cultures do the same so why can't we? I know I would want my family there to look after me.
The gentleman in the press was suffering from dementia too so he was bound to look thinner and old than he did when he was fit and well. He fell and suffered a stroke whilst in hospital and the ward was critized for it. The wards make the place as safe as possible but without restraining each dementia patient it would be impossible to watch them every single minute of the day. It was a tragedy he fell but it could have happened at home, out and about or anywhere. Had the ward left him in bed with rails up to protect him then they would have been critized for that too.
I did have to stick up for my gran whilst she was in hospital a couple of years ago so I do know what it can be like. Had I not had the knowledge she would have continued to suffer needlessly.
One hospital was critized for the way they looked after an ex architect. His wife said this "He urgently needed treatment for jaundice. But Vivien, 71, was stunned when she arrived to find Peter on the floor writhing in pain and wearing the nappy. He was surrounded by metal fencing and when he saw his wife cried: "Help me Viv-please take me home."
Tearful Vivien said: "It was a sight which will last with me forever."When she asked why he was being treated so cruelly nurses said it was a "punishment" for trying to get out of bed. "He was being treated like a caged animal," said Vivien. "It was so humiliating."
Well, if a nurse had said it was a punishment then they deserve to be struck off but I doubt they said that. He would have been nursed in such a way for his own safety and the safety of others and 'the nappy' was probably there as he was soiling himself, there to maintain his dignity, not as a punishment!
If the chap was compos mentis he would not have been treated in such a manor and the fact that he said 'Viv, take me home ' is a little hard to believe. The staff simply would not have treated him that way if he was able to look after himself.
We are bound by paper work and litigation all the time. If we don't fill it out we get disciplined. Nurses are being struck off all time for very little misdemeanour's such as medication omission, inappropriate comments and not filling out paper work. Its a mine field.
I agree some nurses really don't care but when the organisation doesn't care about it's workers are the workers going to care back?
Ms Malone suggests those of us who don't care should 'go and find another job'. Easier said than done! Says she with a silver spoon and sitting in a plush office spouting rubbish and getting paid a silly amount for it!
When you pay to stay at the travel lodge, you get travel lodge services. When you pay to stay at the Savoy, you get Savoy services. If people want a better health care then it needs more funds. We need to pay more NI and not whine about it. I don't agree nurses should be paid massive wages as it could attract the wrong type of person but I do think we need to be valued more and not tarred with the same brush as a few bad eggs.
I'm proud to be a nurse and love my job, but I would never go back and work on a medical ward as it's a hard slog all the time with no thanks.
We have thank you cards galore at our unit so we must be doing something right!! oh yeah that's it. Saving lives!!!
Some patients suffer in hospital due to lack of nursing care because of time constraints of the staff but we do what we can where we can. They also may need a nursing home or have social problems and getting these sorted for discharge is very difficult, red tape, lack of nursing home beds etc etc. Therefore the patient discharge is delayed further. It seems patients relatives sometimes expect 5 star treatment for themselves too and 'demand' things and make complaints needlessly causing more problems and delays. I'm not saying we shouldn't stick up for ourselves but we should also try and respect the hospital staff too and not talk to them like they are servants or stupid.
Some relatives come to visit with an argument ready and waiting with little knowledge and understanding. No matter how much we try to explain, unless you have medical knowledge, it is really hard to understand.
Give us a break, a lot of us are doing our best!