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Archive for January, 2014

5 ★★★★★ Amazon Book Review for ‘Beyond My Control: Why the Health and Social Care System Need Not Have Failed My Mother’

#Broken #limbs #poor use of equipment, #staffing attitudes in the n/ home +#hospital #policies not followed ’

To read the full review please click on the link http://www.amazon.co.uk/product-reviews/1781610282/ref=sr_cr_hist_5?ie=UTF8&filterBy=addFiveStar&showViewpoints=0 …

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Care and Compassion

by Yvonne Newbold

In writing the book, I also had to do a fair bit of research, and I wanted to read other books on similar topics. Apart from anything else, having books to read gave me an excellent distraction at times from the task in hand of getting my book finished, holy moley, any excuse! It was a brilliant excuse really, a completely guilt-free one, because it was “research” rather than “procrastination”!

So I bought 5 or 6 books covering similar, but not identical issues, and surrounded my laptop with them on the dining room table. If you ever came to my house you would wonder how I ever got anything written at all with the constant comings and goings, dramas, crises, interruptions and Toby’s screamingly loud Barney the Purple Dinosaur videos inches away from my ears. That’s not to mention the constant stream of family and friends and Uncle Tom Cobbley and all that pop in to help or for a chat or a cuppa. Piccadilly Circus is an oasis of calm compared to my dining room.

There was one book that kept disappearing. I found it on the sofa, in the other room, on the stairs, even in the loo once, in our kitchen …. people just kept picking it up and wandering off to devour it’s contents. I now have a long list of people who want to borrow it, and most of them have now gone off and bought their own copies because they are impatient to read it and finish it.

Eventually, it stayed still long enough for me to get hold of it and read it too. That was a mistake…. because I couldn’t put it down, and I finally finished it in one sitting at 5am in the morning.

It’s called “Beyond My Control” by Suzan Collins. It is a truly harrowing read, but also essential reading for anyone, like most of us, who may at one time or another, have someone we care about dependent on hospital inpatient care.

It details the story of Suzan’s mother, an elderly lady with a physical disability but who was mentally still as sharp as a pin, and how a catalogue of appalling neglect, incompetence, apathy, poor nursing practice, cover-ups and error after error caused her completely unnecessary death following months of equally unnecessary agonising pain, misery and a total loss of dignity. It shines a spotlight on what is actually happening in many of our hospitals, how management has lost it’s way, how it’s all about shifting blame or covering up rather than taking responsibility to ensure it doesn’t happen again, and how ward staff often can’t see what is so blindingly obviously neglect that they are inadvertently delivering instead of care.

The most shocking aspect of all of this is that Suzan herself has worked in the Care Sector at a very senior level for over 30 years. This is a daughter who understands the system, who knows what constitutes basic standards of care, and who is intelligent and articulate and still, despite all of this, she was powerless. Suzan did everything she possibly could to help her mother access the level of care and concern that she both needed and deserved, and yet it got them nowhere, such is the size of the machine that the NHS has become. It begs the question, if Suzan couldn’t right the wrongs, what hope have the rest of us got when it’s our own vulnerable relatives in hospital?

Well, the book addresses this aspect too. Suzan has included advice and information about how to make the system work better for all of us to learn from. This is an essential book to read, and one that is best read when everyone in your family is well and healthy, please don’t wait until there is someone you care about already in hospital and falling through the cracks where the care should be.

Reading the book certainly got me thinking about the whole issue of care, compassion and how they are so often missing from everyday life on a hospital ward. Sadly, the nursing staff almost universally entered their profession because they cared so passionately about helping people, and lightening the load of the sick, the injured, those in pain and their families. On many wards up and down the country there are still huge numbers of caring, hard-working committed teams of nurses who strive to attain these ideals. What is hard to understand is that so many of these teams are working within an NHS culture that isn’t supporting them in their efforts to care compassionately about their patients. In some areas of the NHS, nurses are finding it just impossible to care properly because the culture is blocking their best efforts. It’s not the fault of the individual nurse, it’s the fault of the system, which seems to have sometimes lost sight of what the priorities should be.

I know from my own experience with Toby having been in hospital countless times, how a good nurse can make all the difference. A smile, a pro-active approach to pain management, a comforting word here and there, the time to stop and talk and make you feel like you matter – these are all things that reduce fear and engender trust and confidence, and once that happens patients are happier, and happier people actually get better quicker because their immune systems are stronger. It’s a no-brainer, really, but somehow the system often makes it impossible for even the best nurses to do these things that they can do so well, and that simply is unacceptable.

Until the priorities change and nursing staff are allowed to care for our families and friends in the way they want to, and have the time to notice when things are amiss, and their management adopts a more open approach to admitting failures and mistakes and working hard to putting them right rather than compounding them by pretending they never happened, it’s up to us to ensure the on-going safety of our hospitalised family and friends. We all need to be aware of what may go wrong and what steps we can take to put them right. Suzan Collin’s book, “Beyond My Control” may make you weep buckets as you read it, but it may also give you the skills you’ll need to advocate effectively on behalf of a loved one. Let’s just hope what happened to Suzan’s mother never ever happens again, and that things can and will significantly improve for everyone, patients and nurses alike.

http://yvonnenewbold.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/care-and-compassion.html?spref=tw

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‘This heart-wrenching account left me with tears streaming down my face at one point.’
Great 5 ★★★★★ review. Click on link to read full review

http://www.amazon.co.uk/product-reviews/1781610282/ref=sr_cr_hist_5?ie=UTF8&filterBy=addFiveStar&showViewpoints=0

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