"Spoilt by insenstive application of Protected Meal..."
About: Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Birmingham) Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Birmingham) Birmingham B15 2TH
Posted via NHS Choices
What I liked
My partner's immediate problem was diagnosed efficiently and attended to, for which we are both very grateful. The new private rooms often available are a major upstep in dignity and comfort for patients, and, for the first time in an NHS hopsital, my partner is able to enjoy quiet at night. Most of the staff are pleasant and helpful. The new cafes and restaurants are a big improvement.
What could be improved
It has clearly now been decided that Protected Meal Times are a universally 'Good Thing'. I am not sure what research findings there are on this. I understand that patients were often not eating before because of disruptions for procedures to be carried out - blood tests etc. However, this has been extended to ejecting all visitors from rooms. Has it not occurred to anyone that this is NOT always a Good Thing? Many visitors are close relatives who can help and encourage patients to eat. I have done this many times with my own partner when he is in a fragile state. Moreover, it can be a matter of human dignity and respect for human rights to allow visitors to remain. Yesterday an auxilliary nurse attempted to eject me from a room when my partner had already asked me to stay and to resist instructions to leave. He simply finds it easier and more comfortable to eat in a normal enviornment where we can be a couple together - sitting together whilst eating is something couples normally do. To force someone to eat alone when they don't want to makes it feel as though patients are being punished for being ill; that they are prisoners in cells. This incident did not take place in a shared room. My partner was the only person there, so the argument that other patients might be upset does not apply.
Has there been any study which looks into the effects on the eating of patients on the PMT regime when they are denied any visitors in their rooms? Please note I am NOT asking about improvements in numbers of meals consumed because patients can no longer have medical procedures at lunch times, I am asking specifically about visitors, and more specifically whether anyone can show that patients eat better when a partner, or someone else very close to them, is banned from the room?