A LAWYER is calling for a back-to-basics approach to help ensured elderly vulnerable patients are properly cared for in hospital.
Jeanette Whyman, head of medical negligence at Wright Hassall Solicitors in Leamington, is campaigning for patients’ relatives to have easy access to a simple check-list to help identify whether basic but vital care procedures being missed in hospitals and care homes.
Jeanette hopes the so-called CARE checklist will be adopted by hospitals and care home facilities across Warwickshire and beyond,
She explained: “The idea came about partly because of the growing number of very sad medical claims I deal with but also as a result of my own mum’s stay in hospital and the personal frustration I faced trying to flag up my concerns to staff.
“Whilst there’s no doubt that doctors and nurses do some fantastic life-changing work, the fact remains that if they don’t get the basics right – things such as making sure the patient is eating enough, drinking enough, being kept clean etc – then chances are they are not going to make such a good or quick recovery.
“I came up with the idea of a CARE checklist because the challenges of a busy ward, means that sometimes ‘the obvious’ gets missed despite the best efforts of the doctors and nurses.
“Often a vulnerable elderly patient is unable to communicate their needs and it then falls to a visiting relative or friend to voice concerns on their behalf.
“The natural thing to do is to flag the problem with a nurse or the ward sister, but what if the nurses on duty are tending to an emergency elsewhere or you simply feel too embarrassed to confront someone face to face and make a fuss.’
Jeanette hopes making a CARE checklist available at the bottom of every elderly patient’s bed would make it easier to ensure they were being properly cared for.
She added: “A relative could fill in the form, flagging issues that they were concerned about and this would then form part of the patient’s official hospital care record with space available to confirm which staff member has seen and remedied the problem.
“Any hospital which embraces feedback of this kind is making a very positive public statement that they care about patient welfare and welcomes any opportunity to improve the care they offer.
“Rather than being defensive and locked into a blame culture, I firmly believe that hospitals have a desire to learn lessons and change for the better.
People can support the initiative via Twitter, Facebook or by visiting www.wrighthassall.co.uk and clicking the ‘”Do you CARE? I do” link.
Lawyer Jeanette Whyman is hoping to help ensure elderly patients are properly cared for. (s)