"Patients must be given time to consider treatment options"

About: Northwick Park Hospital / General surgery

(as a relative),

My husband and I visited my mother, found she was unwell, and took her to the nearest A & E. Most practitioners were caring and respectful throughout her visit, but there were areas that caused concern. I was surprised to see the triage nurse simply grab my mothers's arm and pull on it to place a blood pressure cuff causing my mother to wince in pain! My mother is in her 70's and is frail. If the nurse had only asked for her consent, I am sure my mother would have held out her arm.

We made sure my mother had her mobile phone so that she could call us at any time, but she was concerned about using hospital electricity to charge the phone and therefore it went dead. She was relieved when a nurse addressed this concern. We were all thankful for the nurse's concern that my mother could keep in contact with her family instead of worrying about those at home.

My mother stayed on a ward for over a week, and we were dismayed to hear her report that the toilet in her four-person ward was out of 'loo paper' for two days. Knowing that my mother avoids making a fuss, I encouraged her to let the nurses and assistants know about this. She told me that she had done so, with no result for quite some time. This may seem like a little thing...but such an important basic need!

We tried to find visiting hours on the hospital website but were unsuccessful and had to call the hospital directly. Surely we could make better use of the switchboard operator's time.

Lastly, the medical staff were very patient in allowing my mother to answer their many questions. But they asked her to make a treatment decision immediately after explaining her options. With no time to really think this over, she looked to my husband and I for advice. More than one doctor grew impatient and even angry at this and did not want to answer any of our questions. We were made to feel that we were interfering. What the hospital staff did not know was that my husband and I are health professionals in our own right and knew our mother's private concerns. Patients must be given time to consider treatment options and family members should be allowed to support the patient if the patient is seeking that support.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››