"I recently called to ask how my ..."
About: Clatterbridge Hospital Clatterbridge Hospital Wirral CH63 4JY
What I liked
I recently called to ask how my Mum was doing as I'd been too ill to go in and see for myself, also there was no way I would expose her or all the other patients in there to the viruses I'd had. Rather than the nurse just saying something like, she'd had a restful night, she's managed to have breakfast, seems ok or to something to that effect, I was told quite abruptly that Hospital Policy forbid her from giving me any information about patients. I don't know about anyone else, but I find that just cruel, I had been updated to a point by my Dad about the medical stuff, but I just wanted to know how she was in herself that day as I was starting to miss her. I've checked the policy, and it says 'Enquiries from relatives and friends should be handled in accordance with the wishes (consent) of the patient, taking care to identify the enquirer. Each hospital will have a policy and procedures for dealing with such enquiries' . Maybe the nurses could be a little more proactive, and ask the patients when they come in which relatives they are happy to be updated. Until then, if your relative is in Clatterbridge you may want to make sure when you call that you either ask the nurse to ask your relatives permission to tell you what is going on while you wait on the phone. Or to make it easier, if your relative is well enough, to inform the staff which relatives they are happy to be updated over the phone.
What could be improved
Nurses should ask patients which relatives can be informed about their health over the phone when they are brought in, or when they are a little more settled (obviously this depends on the wellbeing of patient upon arrival) (maybe use a password system which makes relatives more easily identifiable) rather than assuming no one has the consent of the patient, lets face it, most people would expect their partners, children, parents and siblings to be privy to this information.
It is pretty traumatic for relatives of patients going through treatment for cancer, this brick wall we meet over divulgence of patient information is very stressful, please reconcider your policy to meet relatives needs as well as the patients.