A short post about my current dealings with the NHS - I'm sure many more will follow, if only for my own sanity.
My mum was admitted to a ward in the early hours of Tuesday morning after fracturing her pelvis on Monday afternoon.
The care she received in A&E couldn't be faulted. However, since she's been on the ward, we're talking a real mixed bag. I've seen staff members who are doing a job that they truly love and the fact that they care, and want to make people feel better while bringing a smile to patients' faces, shines through them.
And then I've seen the others ...
Those that make you question why they're doing the job. Those that make you want to say, 'Would you like your mother to be treated like that or spoken to in that way?' Those that you can only describe as sadists.
If one male nurse can deliver and administer a bed pan with care and ease, why can't another? How come one can have sensitivity and a light, jokey manner and another, quite frankly, couldn't give a sh*t. It's OK, I have both names and I WILL take action - the first will be nominated as the 'shining star' that this particular hospital is looking for, the second will hopefully end up flipping burgers and not the elderly.
What worries me is, I'm there to fight for my mum - but what about the times I can't be? And what about those patients who have nobody?
I know that the NHS is under huge pressure and is short staffed. I also know that those in the profession work incredibly long shifts but that is never an excuse for rough treatment, harsh words or lack of patience.
My lessons to some of the people I've dealt with would be:
Do not roll your eyes at a patient at one o'clock in the morning when they are in shock and scared, purely because they are hard of hearing.
Remember that you may need someone to care for your mum, dad or grandparent. How would you like them to be treated? Are you delivering that level of care?
The hard of hearing are not stupid - don't treat them like idiots. Also, don't just assume that they've heard what you've said - they are very clever at nodding and pretending they've heard, purely because they don't want to keep asking you to repeat yourself.
Be gentle and kind. You are in the 'caring' profession - if you're not doing that, leave.
Don't tell a patient to stop taking medication and then ask them why they're not taking it. A) they were told to stop B) it's been taken from them and is locked away.
Never tut at a patient EVER - not for asking for a second commode in an hour and not because they didn't hear what you said. Just don't!
If you don't know the answer to something, don't just shrug. Tell the next of kin that you will find someone who can help.
Don't lock horns with the next of kin - you won't win. We're watching you and you will pay.
And what have I learned?
To suck up to the goodies - they are our friends and we want to keep them on side.
To have my say, quietly and calmly and then to allow the baddies to mouth off while I nod and make a note of their name.
That every minute feels like an hour.
That I need to be there for as many of those minutes as I can to make sure that my mum is treated properly. It's the least I owe her and I will do it with love, and cherish every moment spent with her.
Sadly, going by my current experience, the baddies outweigh the goodies.
I don't want to get old.