"My mother was a patient at St..."

What I liked

My mother was a patient at St Martin's for a day short of 5 weeks during July and August 2010. She was treated with friendliness, courtesy and dignity by all of the staff - from the handy-man to all levels of nursing staff, the cleaners, the physios, occupational therapists and doctors. Cleaning procedures were impeccable - the place was immaculate. She enjoyed the food (there was always a choice of menu) and the general good-naturedness of the place. With a broken hip and wrist, she was really anxious to get mobile again - and was fully supported by the excellent physios. As a (daily, give or take) visitor i was always greeted with a smile and enjoyed the warm-hearted chat of the Health Care Assistants on their rounds (of all the staff, in fact). St Martin's is a professional institution with rigorous protocols but it also manages to provide a kind and 'family' environment in which predominantly elderly patients are encouraged to regain their independence.

What could be improved

only because you ask...there was confusion in mother's final week regarding when she was going to go home and it would have been helpful (because it made both of us anxious) if staff hadn't suggested possible dates to her before a decision had been reached. Recognising that asking for clarification on this (or any) issue is not complaining, it's simply asking for clarification. But these are tiny details in comparison to loads and loads of things - everything else in fact - that we both liked.

Anything else?

I was staggered to read a previous comment suggesting that there should be TVs and radios in the wards. The day room has a TV on all the time - and my mother was delighted to be able to escape from it (also to enjoy it from time to time). Patients in her bay brought in their own radios and used them with headphones so they could listen to the programmes they liked. How on earth would it be possible to decide what programme everyone 'should' listen to? Are we all supposed to have the same tastes and interests? And newspapers aren't encouraged because of infection issues, we were told. It all seemed very reasonable to us. My mother got to know other patients and made new friends at St Martin's. By the time she started to feel 'bored', it was a sign of her recovery and that she was ready to go home. For much of the time she needed the peace and quiet the place offered. It's a hospital for heaven's sake. A lot of the time, people are feeling sore, tired or unwell. My mother enjoyed going out on the patio when it was sunny and sitting in the day room when she wanted more company or to watch the TV. But she appreciated being able to retreat and 'put her feet up' in the quiet of her bay at other times.

We both felt incredibly privileged to have the facilities of St Martin's available and really bowled over by the happy environment and professional services provided. A huge, heart-felt thank you to all the staff from both of us!

Story from NHS Choices

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