Concerns over care of elderly relatives

18 August 2017 09:41

Too many older people are "suffering in silence" when things go wrong with their NHS care, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman  has said.

Too many older people are "suffering in silence" when things go wrong with their NHS care, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has said.

Relatives of older people receiving NHS care have raised concerns over some of the treatment.

More than one in three people said they were concerned about the care or treatment of their older relative in hospital.

Some 600 people with elderly relatives who had stayed in hospital overnight in the past year were polled by the website Gransnet and the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO).

Compelled to complain

The case of an older male patient having to dial 999 after a fall in his hospital room was among the concerns.

The relative explained: "After a fall my husband had to call 998 (999) for help. In his hospital room! No-one came. Lay on the floor for 75 minutes in agony before a doctor could be found."

More than half of those with concerns said they felt compelled to complain, but 50% of these pound found the complaints procedure "difficult".

A Gransnet spokesperson said even though services are "stretched" patients "deserve better than this".

Anyone taking a holiday with family can arrange specialist seniors travel insurance for older relatives.

What the PHSO and Gransnet say

PHSO Rob Behrens said: "The NHS is a lifeline for many vulnerable older people but, when things go wrong, too many are suffering in silence.

"I want people to be confident to complain, know their rights, and speak up when things go wrong so that the NHS can learn from mistakes and improve services for others."

Lara Crisp, editor of Gransnet, said: "Patients deserve better than this. While we appreciate that services are stretched, communication with patients and their families must be improved. They should feel that their concerns are taken seriously and addressed properly.

"It's simply not acceptable that over half of people with a concern feel they can't complain or that it won't make any difference if they do."

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