"Elderly Care"

(as a relative),

Is "Elderly Care" the best way to treat people?

My father was in hospital for five months, and during that time I lost all confidence in doctors. Perhaps I had been naive in thinking that the doctors would know what they were doing, and always do their best for the patients. Now I'm worried about how I'll be treated if I have to go to hospital into an Elderly Care facility.

Will I be helped if I need to go to the toilet or, as I saw with my father and many other patients, will I be made to wait longer than I can hold it in? I'm sure that the only chance of a shorter wait is when there is a visitor who can insist on attention. Will I become incontinent if I'm a long term patient? Is it right to leave anyone - young or old - soaked in urine?

Will I be sedated if I'm too much trouble - for example, if I'm bored with being left in front of a TV for hours, without even a chance to change the channel myself?

Will my zimmer frame or wheelchair be placed too far away from me so I can't move without help - and staff too busy too help?

Will I get specialist treatment supervised by a doctor who knows more about my condition than my relatives? Even though he was 78, I'm sure my father would have been better if the specialist in Elderly Care had properly understood the difference between brain injury and dementia, or had the grace to mind the gap and get a specialist's advice.

After far too long in an Elderly Care ward while I struggled to get the right care, I don't think my father had a chance of recovery. He died and I'm waiting for a coroner's report. Next time - though I hope there will not be a next time - I will know that I can't trust the NHS where an older person is concerned.

I met some lovely people who helped - but I fought almost alone until it was too late.

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