"Apparent misuse of orthopaedic wards"
About: Macclesfield District General Hospital Macclesfield District General Hospital Macclesfield SK10 3BL
Posted by Alan Debes
Not all staff co-operated well, mainly because they don't have the time to do so. Cooperation with part-time, agency-provided night staff (especially at weekends) seemed especially weak. Treating patients with dignity and respect would improve (1) if staff had more time to talk with them. (2) If rotas were more regular and less varied. For instance, a nurse working a double shift of 14 hours (which is very tiring) is not seen again on the ward for several days, which means that patients get a constant succession of different staff at a time when life is already very confusing for them. The hospital should consider giving patients a guide to the uniforms worn by staff so that they can appreciate the function, role and potential authority of each new member of staff (new to them) who comes onto the ward. Patients new to being in hospital need help and information about how they can best be involved in their treatment - eg over the drugs they are prescribed. The chain of command (or control) was unclear. In the 4 days I was in hospital I never once saw the Ward Sister, let alone talked with her. One SRN referred to the consultant surgeon as "the doctor" who controlled the prescription; whereas another was able to consult me and to take action. Asking patients to rate their pain on a 1-10 basis needs to be recognized as a crude measure, as one man's "5" can be another man's "10". Elderly patients suffering from advanced dementia were placed on an orthopaedic ward because - it seemed - they needed a bed rather than orthopaedic treatment. This proved very stressful for patients recovering from major surgery and it was difficult to discern any benefit to those elderly patients. I believe this questionnaire to be too bland or blunt to be really helpful.