Problem getting information from the Hospital

Pirate

Registered User
Jun 24, 2007
7
England
Last Wednesday, in the early hours, the care home called - my mum had been taken to hospital.

It's now Sunday lunch time, and I still really don't have a clear idea of what is going on.

I don't live near my mum, so I have to rely on the telephone. It seems to be the hospital policy not to give ANY information over the phone other than she is 'comfortable'.

I visited on Thursday afternoon - my mum was asleep the whole time, so didn't know I was there, not that she really knows who I am.

When I visited, I was told she was comfortable, she has an infection and is having tests - all of which is fair enough, but its the sort of info which could be given over the phone.

I explained my situation, in the hope that they could make arrangements for me to be given information over the phone, but they flatly refused - they won't even tell me over the phone if the results of the tests are in, so I could visit again when more information is known.

I'm my mum's only daughter and Receiver as appointed by the Court of Protection, so I know I'm entitled to know what's going on - but it is so difficult to get information from them.

The situation is bad enough as it is, but the hospital is addding to my stress.

Has anybody else experienced this problem - and how did they overcome this?

Thanks for any suggestions you may be able to give
 

jenniferpa

Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
39,448
I do think hospitals are variable about this: personally I found I could get more information over the phone than I ever could in person - there never seemed to be anyone available to answer my questions when I was there. Anyway - have you contacted the hospital PALS? (Patient Advice & Liaison Service) I found them very helpful - one of them actually went on to the ward, tracked down my mother's file, made notes and called me back, and I was in the US at the time.

Also making an appointment for a telephone meeting with the consultant can also shake more info out of the tree.
 

Skye

Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
17,000
SW Scotland
Hi Pirate

I believe it's all down to the over-zealous application of the data ht protection act. Over the phone, you may not be who you say you are, so 'Had a comfortable night' is the stock answer.

I found exactly the same. Even though I live quite near, and visited every day, if I rang to check on John out of visiting hours, I got the same response.

One solution I found worked was to ask to speak to the ward sister or staff nurse in charge. Not always possible, they might be busy, but they were often prepared to give out more info if they knew you. I believe junior staff, who often answer the phone, have strict instructions not to.

Another possibility is to ring the NH. They may have up to date info, or be prepared to find out for you. I always ask after a lady in John's unit who is in hospital at the moment, and they always seem to know. They don't give me any details, of course, just that she's 'very poorly', or 'not eating', etc.
 

Pirate

Registered User
Jun 24, 2007
7
England
Hi Pirate. Could you give a password to the staff, so they knew it was you calling, like your mum's maiden name.
When I was on the phone to the ward last week, they said that this would be possible, but when I visited and asked to set up a password, they said that they didn't do this !

Anyway, thanks for your suggestions.

I telephoned the consultants secretary today - the consultant wasn't in today, but I 've been able to make an appointment to see another doctor on the ward on Wednesday afternoon.

I feel happier now I know I'm going to get the information I need.... even if it's not good news, at least I'll know what's going on

Thanks again :)
 

helen.tomlinson

Registered User
Mar 27, 2008
541
Hello Pirate

I'm glad you been able to arrange to meet up with another doctor on the ward. Perhaps you can use that opportunity to set up a system of telephone communication with him because it seems unreasonable to me for you to have to travel long distances just to get information. Perhaps he could suggest something?

Hope your mum makes a good recovery.

Love Helen