Who cares when the carer needs care?

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
A woeful tail of how the NHS ignores the rights and needs of a person reliant on their carer, when that carer needs medical help and is hospitalized. Image

June 2008, I had severe abdominal pain as the result of an accident in the garden involving a sun parasol. I also have an underlying abdominal condition, which may or may not need to be treated in time, but seems to blind the medics to any other reason for tummy problems.

After a day during which the pain got progressively worse, I asked my wife to call the doctor. The doctor called and arranged for me to be taken straight to the ward of our main NHS hospital as an emergency admission and an ambulance was called.

My wife can’t use her car without someone putting her wheelchair in or taking it out of the boot. On this occasion one of our very good friends put the wheelchair in her car and drove my wife to the hospital (she couldn’t travel in the ambulance with me), got the wheelchair out and pushed her to the ward and said that if she phoned when she wanted to come home, adding at any time through the night, she would come and pick her up. Image

My wife elected to stay by my bedside all night, because I was so poorly. She was made to feel that she had no right to be there at all. The nursing staffs were openly hostile to her. She was not even offered a cup of tea when the trolley came around - luckily she had brought a bottle of water with her to take her prescribed painkillers. She spent the entire night and all the next day (a total of 24 hours) in her wheelchair and no-one even enquired if she was alright or needed any help. Image

If that wasn’t bad enough, some time through the night I was taken to have a scan and my wife asked if she could come with me. She got a reluctant yes but only if she could wheel herself. This hospital has a modern part and a very old warren-like part - we were in the old part. A porter came eventually to wheel me to the x-ray dept for my scan, off we set the porter, me, and a nurse pushing another patient and, following as best as she could, my wife wheeling herself up and down the long and winding corridors. Despite many requests for help or to slow down this was met with stern refusals on the ground of the need to be quick so the nurse could get back to the ward, and the old favorite Health and Safety. Image

At one stage I said that I would push her but they said that would not be allowed. My wife told them that in her opinion she was being discriminated against because she is disabled. A charge they denied quoting the same excuses, adding that they had told her it was a long way.

After the scan the journey back to the ward was not as bad and the need for speed was not there, it was just a porter, me, and my wife. This porter was very helpful and actually pushed both wheelchairs up the steepest parts and would allow some stops so that my wife could catch her breath. This was the only assistance my wife received during the entire 24 hour period. Image

Whilst all this was going on, it has to be remembered that my wife was extremely distressed about my condition plus the added problem of getting around the hospital and being treated by the nursing staff like a pariah. Image

I was in hospital for four days in all and the experience has left us both very worried about what will happen if I become unwell and have to go into hospital again.

Surely it is the right of any spouse to accompany their wife/husband to treatment or examinations whilst at or in hospital. I believe that hospitals should have systems in place to help people in this sort of situation, even if they had to make a small charge to hire a porter. Image

My wife now has a powered wheelchair which is loaded into the back of our car using a hoist and whilst this would assist her moving around the hospital, she has no way of getting the wheelchair in or out of the car on her own. It is such a complicated procedure that someone would need to be shown several times how to do this without damage to themselves, the chair or the car.

I would be interested to know if anyone else has had a similar experience and or any views on my story.


in answer to the title-- no one

sad but very true,,

thats why this forum is a godsend
this worries me greatly, as sometime in the near future I face the prospect of a knee replacement - with the accompanying convalescent period.
How will my husband cope without me to make his meals, do his washing, shopping etc. Yes, he has professionals in to get him up and put him to bed, but they are here for about 30mins each time.
It worries me so much I can't face the surgery.
Your story is a classic case of disability discrimination Jimbo. If your wife could walk, there wouldn't have been a problem. See here:

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/DisabledPeo ... DG_4001068
My doctor suggested I have an operation on my wrist. I looked at him, he looked at me, reached for his pad and gave me some more painkillers Image
But at least he understood.
I was admitted to hospital, an emergency op or die, my husband was getting over a heart attack and he'd had a mental breakdown, who was going to look after him, we have 2 grown children, but who would have cared, anyone know of any backup, I worry about this too
My husband and I are the same - we both need surgery (again) and there is no point whilst we are still caring. I have a prolapse (front and back if you know what I mean) and an umbilical hernia (my belly button sticks out and looks like an alien!) and my husband has an inguinal hernia. We have both previously had surgery but because we continued with the caring, the problems returned. The recovery period is so long we can't be out of action for that length of time and as soon as we start caring again it will just come back, so its pointless - we just put up with the pain.

Eun
Yep the last 2 gromit insertions in my ear were done without anesthetic, it takes too long plus i had nobody to support my gal when she came home, the specialist thought i was barking mad....i said if you do it do it now if i cannot manage the pain i will tell you...i was more concerned in meeting my gal off transport, he wrote a letter to gp stating i requested no anesthetic Image, dont take your caree's needs into consideration
Am sorry to hear about this, Jimbo. Welcome to the forum, by the way Image
How often do I have to say this? NOBODY takes care of us really. NOBODY cares how we feel. NOBODY understands how invisible we are to all and sundry.