"Our family's experience of my father's hospital admissions"

About: Southern General Hospital

(as a relative),

My dad has communication problems as a result of a stroke. He has difficulty understanding what is being said to him and he cannot easily form words. He also has breathing problems and has suffered a number of chest infections and pneumonias over the past 18 months.

During a recent admission to hospital I was appalled at the lack of compassion and poor communication we experienced. The some of the nursing staff we had experiences did not ask for information from us as relatives and carers. I think this is important to build a full holistic picture of the person in their care. Rather than choosing to sit with their back to the ward area when writing nursing notes during visiting, I would suggest perhaps going round the beds to do this and talking to the patients and carers. In my view this gives an opportunity to discuss an update with the carers and patients and keeps communication transparent, while promoting an approachable image.

We were often made to feel that patients and relatives were become an inconvenience to nurses within this ward area. Perhaps a more humanistic approach should be adopted – remember the good old days when the first thing a nurse asked was “How would I feel if this was me or my relative?” Please remember neither the patient nor the relative wants to be or has asked to be in this situation, it is a result of circumstances out of our control. All we ask is that you are respectful and considerate when caring for vulnerable people.

I was further shocked by the incredibly positive results of a patient satisfaction survey which was so proudly displayed outside the ward – This was not the experience that we had. While I accept this could be considered the opinion of one family, it is perhaps pertinent to mention that this appeared to me to be the general consensus of all of those relatives waiting outside to be permitted access to their loved ones at the regimented visiting time.

It is important to note that not all staff were unapproachable and I think particular praise should go to the junior sister and male nursing auxiliary staff.

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