Any Charges Reported on this blog are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty, through the courts.

January 20, 2011

NHS Reform Must Start With the Rudest Nurse and the Shabbiest Hospital Ward (UK)

January 18th, 2011

Writing so much about cancer inevitably leads to harrowing examples of shabby neglect by people who have a duty of care to their patients. This particularly shocking account was recently sent to me:
To the great distress of the family involved, the hospital to which their desperately ill relative was taken – nearing the end of his life – placed him not on a quiet ward nor in a peaceful room, but on an “acute” ward. It appears that the scene on this ward was one of bedlam – a constant barrage of loud voices and machinery, a urine bottle pouring its contents onto the floor, with only the canteen offered to the family as a place to which they might withdraw to collect their thoughts. A hospice bed had become available but, incredibly, the hospital patient discharge planning process does not function at weekends – so going home was not an option either.
Please could someone explain to me why nurses working on an NHS “acute” ward (which, presumably, houses seriously ill patients who might soon come to the end of their lives) do not appear to have the same levels of care for those patients and their families, as do hospice nurses?
So, I ask – is a hospice nurse a different sort of person?  I suggested in my last blog post that some NHS nurses clearly think they are offering a form of charity, for which we should be grateful – hence their “attitude”.  However, on second thoughts, that cannot be right because 63 per cent of hospice funding comes from charitable donations – yet their nurses exhibit only professional care and compassion. Why the difference?
David Cameron insists he wants to “champion excellence”. Perhaps he could start by ensuring our NHS nurses are equipped with an old-fashioned “bedside manner”. I have encountered nurses and carers in residential and nursing homes – who are paid considerably less than NHS nurses and, often, work under just as difficult conditions – whose caring attitude to their patients and residents would put some NHS nurses to shame.
What happened to the Matrons of old? Where is the management in these hospitals? Does no one ever check on the wards? Is no one ever held to account for the chaos? When my Mother trained in London in the 1930s and 1940s, nurses were extremely badly paid but were dedicated to their profession and proud to wear their uniform. Their standard of compassion and care – not to mention cleanliness of themselves and the ward – was instinctively high. Where has that gone?
Hospice nurses not only care for patients in-house but also visit those people who prefer to remain in their own homes, plus working with nursing home staff to help nurse their residents. The care is holistic – not just clinical – encompassing social care, physiotherapy, complementary therapies and, very importantly, support for the family. On a positive note, Help the Hospices, which raises so much of the essential funds for the UK hospices, is seeing increased collaboration between hospitals and hospice staff. Might it not help if hospital nurses were all trained in the hospice “end of life care”? Surely the “social, emotional and psychological elements”, which Help the Hospices believes “are central to hospice and palliative care” should be already in the DNA of our entire health service?
Good luck to Mr Cameron in shaking up the NHS. Putting back a caring culture on our wards would cost nothing but would transform people’s experience of hospitals. I am not holding my breath. After all, what happened to John Major’s “Patients’ Charter”. Nothing!

SOURCE:     The Telegraph.UK

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Any Charges Reported on this blog are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty.

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