"It doesn't take much to retain an individual's dignity"

About: Weston General Hospital / Accident and emergency

(as a carer),

My 72 year old mum, who is also physically disabled, recently had a trip to Weston A&E with what turned out to be a broken hip.

When I arrived she had already been there a couple of hours and I was fairly shocked at what I found. She was in the most dreadful, uncomfortable position on the trolley (especially considering she had a broken hip and is physically unable to readjust her position) and no-one seemed to care nor was willing to help her get into a better position. Despite the fact she had tears in her eyes from the pain she was told no-one could help readjust her due to 'moving and handling' policies. She was not asking to be lifted, just to have her legs moved and straightened, a simple small amount of human compassion and kindness - I did it myself in the end.

Mum said that in Xray she got dragged across onto the xray table and was so uncomfortable that she had to ask for a pillow. They didn't have a pillow but instead shoved a rolled up blanket under her head and said that would 'have to do'. It was as if, because she was disabled, it was assumed she could not feel pain - nor that she retained a right to basic dignity, care and respect.

Mum had no idea what was happening next as no-one had told her, the consultant had been but gone away again and mum was just left in a cubicle waiting for someone to return. It wouldn't have taken much for someone to keep mum informed rather than me having to ask.

Eventually it was decided it was time for her to go home - imagine my despair at watching 3 members of staff try to work out how to use the portable hoist. Two of them admitted not knowing how it worked or where to hook her up and they had to ask someone else for help, it was truly worrying, took a long time and caused mum a great deal of anxiety (and, unfortunately, pain).

When mum was finally back in her wheelchair a nurse who was acting particularly unpleasant appeared in the cubicle. She was writing the names of patients in each bay on a napkin (don't know why a napkin.....). Rather than asking mum herself or me, as her carer, she said to the other nurse, "What's 'er name?". As if my mum was invisible; in my opinion this was so rude.

All in all, the experience left me wondering why some people go into the caring profession when some of the staff did not manage the small basic steps to retain my mum's dignity. There was one nurse who was wonderful, very sweet, kind and attentive - but she really stood out from all the others. And that worries me.

And as an ex-nurse my poor mum merely lamented how things have changed.

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