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Health, News, Politics

Older People’s Commissioner Report

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.

Watch Mariclare’s report online at ITV.com/Wales

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.


One thought on “Older People’s Commissioner Report

  1. My mother is currently in Dewi Ward at West Wales General Hospital. She’s 88 years old, has dementia and a serious urinary tract infection which compounds the dementia. So far I have walked in unexpectedly and found her sitting in a hospital gown, no dressing gown, no blanket, no socks, crying. When I asked her what was wrong, she said…”I’m so cold!”. The bell was tucked under the mattress, on the other side of the room, [she can’t walk], she was also smelling very strongly of urine. I put her clean nightgown on, put a dressing gown on her, and socks covered her with a blanket and asked why the bell was removed from her. The answer was that it must have been put there when the bed was made, by accident. She is regularly smelly, covered in food and her face and hands are dirty. The other day, when I was there she asked for the commode, but they neglected to wipe her bottom after wards and scowled at me when I asked for the means to clean her up. Yesterday, one of my sons went to see her as I needed a day off. She asked him to get a nurse to put her on the commode and they took so long that she had dirtied herself by the time they came, shaming her so badly. These are just a few of the events of the last week or so. I am on my way now to a meeting with the doctor as the Staff Nurse tried to discharge her on Saturday, even though she cannot even lift herself out of the chair or walk, even with a walking aid. Some of the staff are rude and bordering on aggressive and I wonder why they chose nursing as a profession in the first place. Our health service DOES need an overhaul, but not in the way that Mr Cameron suggests, it needs to remember that the “Units” they count are REAL people with pain, confusion, stress and worry and should be treated with respect and compassion, sadly lacking on the wards today.

    Posted by Anni Rumble | March 14, 2011, 10:12 am

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