"Carer and relative experience with radiology"

About: Queen Margaret Hospital / Radiology Victoria Hospital / Radiology

(as a relative),

This is the third time I've had an 'experience' with a radiologist.

My mum has vascualr dementia has memory problems, mobility problems and balance issues. She cannot walk without an aid and cannot stand for periods of time due to lack of strength, balance issues and a inability to concentrate. If in unfamiliar surroundings easily becomes flustered and increasingly stressed therefore I become her voice (I am also her full time carer and she lives with me on a permanent basis). She is unable to affirm her personal details except her name and DOB. She remembers various illnesses she has but not the drugs she is on or other procedures she has had.

Today we went for a bone scan in the nuclear medicine dept. I always enquire politely to the member of staff what a procedure may entail allowing me to assess whether or not I need to be involved either by my physical presence or just informing the staff that my mum won't manage to do x, y or z. I always offer to help, I'm never intrusive but for some reason with radiologists I find myself having to be firm in what I'm saying, repeat my self and also explain my mums medical problems to them in detail, often in front of other people who are in the waiting room, and most importantly in repeatedly front of my mum

After the bone scan mum was sent for a chest X-ray. A different member of staff required the same detailed explanation except this time she wasn't really taking on board what I was saying with regard to my mum not being to able stand up or hold on during the procedure due to the afore mentioned problems my mum has. She then left with my mum saying to the nurse " we will give this a go". I was horrified. A kindly nurse joined the proceedings and turned to me and said "don't worry, I will look after her". They eventually did the X-ray with mum sitting down.

That was today....My first experience was around 2 years ago. I was informing a radiologist my mum wouldn't be able to do certain things. She said she would be asking my mum her abilities. At this point I said to her she would not be asking my mum she would have to listen to me as my mum had dementia. This happened twice in the same department within a few weeks. A different hospital from today.

This really isn't good enough from a care/compassion stance and shows a lack of understanding and professionalism by certain members of staff. I have no idea if radiologists have notes on a patient beforehand - if they don't then they should have, If they do then they aren't reading them. A carer or relative often knows better.

Since I don't get an option to be both on the next choice on this website I am both carer and relative.

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Response from Louise Ewing, Patient Relations Manager, NHS Fife

picture of Louise Ewing

Dear Alison M

Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your experience of Radiology which is not the experience we want for folks. It is good however that you have taken the time out of your busy day to share this, as it gives us an opportunity to share your story with the team directly (which I will do) but also to consider your point more widely.

The benefits of involving carers and relatives in care delivery is recognised and it is so important that we get this right every time. This is an area we are currently working to improve with our work in relation to dementia. Your story will be used to re iterate the importance of compassion and invovling carers and relatives in care. Many thanks for sharing.


Louise Ewing

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