Wednesday 29 February 2012

Britain is no country for old men in hospital expecting to be treated with dignity and compassion

An article in the 'Daily Mail' today was entitled :

You must not call an elderly patient 'dear': Doctors and nurses are urged to treat patients with more respect

When Sir Keith Pearson, the co-chair of the 'Commission on Improving Dignity in Care', says in its  new report that :
'compassion' should be at the centre of hospital treatment',  we can assume that this is not the case at the moment.

It observes what old men in Britain already knew that : an 'unthinking disregard' for the needs and aspirations of older people permeates British life, from the transport system and housing to the National Health Service.

By pointing out what hospital staff should refrain from when dealing with old men and women in their care, the Commission holds up a mirror to what is going on at present and that old men in hospital can expect to  be :

* asked "how are we today dear?" and be referred to as a "bedblocker" if they are better but have no arrangements in place made for care their after hospital.

*  referred by staff as, for example  : ‘that stroke over there’ or ‘the fractured femur in that bay’.

* treated by doctors ‘acting like vets’ if they are suffering from dementia with one consultant admitting that 'you perhaps may not be treating them in the same way as someone else that you can talk to.’

* treated by a lack of kindness, compassion, dignity and respect since Care Service Minister, Paul Burstow has said: "Kindness and compassion, dignity and respect must be central to care, whoever provides it and wherever it is provided. "

* hand-fed when they are perfectly capable of feeding themselves and be denied a choice in what clothes they wear.

So,  Old Men of Britain who have to stay in hospital after the Report's recommendations are put into practise you can expect to :

* be treated by hospital staff whose  'values'  have been considered alongside their academic qualifications and have been given compulsory personality tests before being given their jobs to ensure they will treat you with care with respect.

* have your life stories at the ends of your beds alongside your medical notes to encourage staff to think of you as 'people', not 'bodies' on the ward.

* have your families come in at meal times to help feed you and assist with washing and taking you to the toilet.

The Golden Age of hospital care for old men in Britain is at hand !


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