Last year my grandfather was taken very ill and in October he passed away. It was a terrible time for my family and me. But the one thing that gave us comfort was knowing that he had had the best possible care from the nurses and doctors who looked after him.
But a report out today by the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Ruth Marks, says others aren’t so lucky.
Ruth is now calling for ‘fundamental change’ after her research found that older people aren’t always treated with dignity and respect in hospital. She found examples of poor practice, including not helping someone to go to the toilet, ignoring people’s privacy and not communicating well with patients. One said “I don’t know why I am here. I don’t know what is wrong with me or what they are doing about it. I feel trapped.”
She has now made a series of recommendations, which include empowering managers to run their wards in a way that enhances dignity; equipping staff to support people with dementia; prioritising continence care; and ensuring consultations between patients and clinical staff are held in private.
But the aim of this report isn’t to scare people. Ruth acknowledges that many hospitals are doing well;
“There are examples of effective leadership and good practice and it is vital these are built on and become the norm. I am encouraged by efforts to improve standards of care.
“They demonstrate what is possible and should play a key part in bringing about wider change. The Health Boards and Trust must now tell me what they are going to do to address my recommendations.”
If those recommendations are addressed, hopefully more patients will get the same level of care my granddad had.