"Policies and communication"

About: Dewsbury & District Hospital

Would like to understand how the hospital manages "out of the norm" situations where those playing a key role in a loved one's care live overseas. We have a loved one who does not have any direct family involved in his health challenges. Over the last 10 years this has fallen to 3 friends - one of the key players lives in Australia, is noted on the file at the GP as a key contact to discuss all health related matters. The individual in Australia was responsible for raising the alarm re a serious fall last week and organised the GP to attend the home prior to admission into hospital. The individual in Australia spoke with a number of key staff upon admission, explaining who the 3 people were, followed up by a lengthy conversation with a Staff Nurse and a member of the Elderly Inpatient Team, providing the history of the individual and advising that due to work commitments, location of the 3 people, they share the management of this person. This evening the key person from Australia contacted the Ward for an update to be advised by the Ward Clerk that they were not able to discuss the update with the person, that the person should refer to the patient's family, in the UK, who visit the hospital. It was necessary to advise the Ward Clerk that all those visiting are not family members and that there had been several prior calls over the last few days to discuss the current needs of the patient. One hour later, one of the other 3 people called the Ward, were put straight through to a member of staff and were given an update re the arrangements - over the phone! Appreciating the policies around privacy of a patient, but also thinking outside of the box and understanding not every patient has a family but when there has been key communication from the 3 people from the word go - that the patient himself would be able to verify who the people are - would you not think it plausible that common sense would prevail? The individual in Australia provided all of the history of the patient, the names and phone numbers of those responsible for the care and who would be contacting the hospital to obtain updated information as to discharge and rehabilitation. So the individual in Australia, who is akin to a stepdaughter for the last 20 years has been wiped from receiving updated information - in spite of this person's details being noted on the file by the Staff Nurse with whom she spoke for over an hour on the weekend. Disappointing that there is no accommodating different needs of people who don't have family and disappointing that within one hour an update was being given - over the phone - to another contact.

Story from NHS Choices

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