"Care for elderly with hearing aids"

About: Croydon University Hospital / Older people's healthcare

(as a relative),

When my mother was in hospital, there was no procedure for how staff dealt with mums hearing aids. Since temperatures are now taken in the ear, the staff need to remove hearing aids, however the hearing aid just gets put on the bed, in a pocket or on the bedside table. Seldom was any effort made to put the hearing aid back in and so I would visit Mum to find she could not hear anything being said to her.

Sometimes the hearing aids were on the floor, sometimes on the table and once one hearing aid vanished for 3 days before it was returned after being found in a staff member pocket after I made a fuss. Quite apart from the cost -£1700 for the pair, my concern is that because she could not hear, and staff made no extra effort to communicate, my mother was missing opportunities to answer questions about her care properly.

On one occasion she was asked if she wanted "anything for the pain" she nodded and smiled and tablets were offered. I asked her "what pain?". There was no pain, she had not heard what the question was and was "being nice".

Elderly people and people with hearing aids are not a rarity in hospitals and there should be proper procedures to handle hearing aids properly and to ensure that people can clearly hear and understand what is being asked of them.

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Response from Croydon University Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to post your comments and we are sorry that you feel that your mother’s hearing impairment was not taken into account sufficiently while she was with us. Your thoughts have been discussed by the teams involved in caring for the elderly as well as our audiology service; we are always looking to improve how we communicate with patients and this is particularly important and relevant on elderly are wards. Following from your comments, we are now looking to improve the way that we train staff to care for patients who are hearing impaired. If you would like to get in touch with us through our PALS service on 020 8401 3210 or talktous@croydonhealth.nhs.uk we would be happy to discuss your mother’s case in more detail as well as the changes we are planning to make.

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