"Understanding special needs patients in hospital"

About: Tameside General Hospital / General medicine

(as a staff member posting for a patient/service user),

This story has been posted by Healthwatch Tameside on behalf of a member of the public. We have their details and will forward any comments to them, as they do not have an email address. They said…

This lady’s husband has special needs, since suffering an Arteriovenous malformation 24 years ago aged 36. One of his disabilities is a speech problem. During recurrent hospital admissions he is confused, particularly if he is moved between wards, and he can’t speak to people or understand everything. As his carer, she tries to stay with him, and thought she had an agreement that Tameside Hospital would notify her of any move. In February, he was in MAU, and one night he was woken at midnight to be moved to another ward. He became very distressed as his wife wasn’t there and he didn’t know what was happening.

Some staff are very understanding but some seem to resent his wife staying with him, and she wants reassurance that she can – she would be available any time, day or night.

This lady is very clear that she has no complaint about her husband’s clinical treatment or his general care. She feels that the hospital has improved, if anything. She would like all staff to have training in how to work with people who have special needs.

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Response from Lindsay Stewart, Deputy Director of Nursing, Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for taking your time to post your comment via Healthwatch.

Staff are reminded frequently about the need to actively engage patients/ carers in conversation and explanations about the care and treatment they are receiving. The hospital uses specific reasonable adjustment care plans that ensure all adjustments that family/carer would like to be involved in their basic care. We also have access to a specialist learning disability team who can assist staff responding to complex care requirements and plan care from admission to discharge.

If this lady would like to speak to someone on a more personal basis please can she contact Helen Howard Matron Patient Experience 0161 922 4652 who will be able to address any further issues.

John Goodenough

Director of Nursing

’Would you like to help the hospital to improve its services further? We are currently looking for patients and carers to become involved in a development called “Patient Stories”. We want to know more about our services from the point of view of those who received them – what was good, bad, what could be improved, what should be changed. Want to know more about what’s involved? Please contact John Goodenough, Director of Nursing at


  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful