"Good medical treatment but no help for disabled,..."

About: The Great Western Hospital

What I liked

I took my mother to the Audiology Department as an outpatient for a hearing test. The Audiologist, although they described themself as a Student Audiologist, was professional and thorough, with a patient and understanding manner. So was the person in ENT who syringed my mother's ears for wax.

What could be improved

My mother uses a wheelchair, as she is 92 and disabled by a stroke and osteo-arthritis. The problem came when she needed the loo. It was inevitable that she would, as the whole outing – the taxi there and back, waiting time, and time for treatment - lasted several hours.

She needs two people to lift her and assist her when using the loo, but I had assumed that in a hospital this must be such an obvious and frequent need that there would be some-one available to help. In fact I was told there was no-one. She had to “let go”, and although she wears a pad this was distressing and undignified for her.

This must surely be a need that arises many times a day in the outpatient departments of a large hospital, especially in a department like Audiology where many patients are elderly.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from The Great Western Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to provide this feedback about your mother's recent visit to the hospital. We are sorry to hear that she did not receive the attention she needed when visiting the bathroom. If a person attending an appointment has a disability, we enourage them to let the clinic they are attending know before they attend so that we can discuss what support they may need when they come in for their appointment. We can only apologise for your mother's distress on this occasion. We have discussed the issue with the lead matron in this area and will be doing more to highlight the support available to people with a disability and how to access it through our website and other patient information.

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