Let’s face it not many people love being in hospital at the best of times it’s not the most dignifying or pleasant experience sometimes, but being in hospital isn’t easy when you have Muscular Dystrophy or any other disability for that matter the whole experience from start to finish can bring a whole host of challenges.
many disabled people and their families are finding accessibility at hospitals is a real concern, having just had my first real experience first hand though having pneumonia and a collapsed lung, I’ve never been this ill before even having Muscular Dystrophy, it didn’t take long for me to realize that when you have a disability it can bring you real challenges and lead to many more difficulties.
Accessibility of Hospitals For Disabled People
It never really crossed my mind until now and taking to many people getting their experiences to the many issues that the NHS face in regards to providing appropriate care for vulnerable/disabled people, it’s definitely opened my eyes and given my much food for thought, mostly what changes can be made?? What can be done to improve the NHS and it’s accessibility for disabled people and their careers.
Lack of knowledge
Now I’m fully aware that not all NHS staff can’t have knowledge about every disability out there that just crazy and unrealistic hence why we have specialists that cover different fields including disabilities.
I think it would be a good thing at least the basic level of training and awareness of complex needs is needed and crucial to allow NHS staff to be better equipped if need, It’s more common than it should be that disabled in-patients are being forced to go without some of their vital care needs, having to go without basic personal hygiene i.e showering due to the lack of staffing, lack of training plus equipment, in this Stan age it’s not right and really shouldn’t be happening at all, providing and improving training for staff will give a better understanding/awareness of how to manage the patients care more effectively as well as moving them they would lessen the risk of causing further discomfort and pain.
Attitudes and communication
I was fortunate enough that most of the staff I had care for me where understanding and willing for me to explain how my body works, but I did face a few that where rude spoke down to me as if I was a child and didn’t know what I was talking about, it’s not uncommon for disabled people to often experience people speaking to the person we are with and ignoring speaking directly to us, they assume we can’t think or speak for ourselves because we have disability or in a wheelchair.
I try to make myself as clear as I can but unfortunately some times I still face staff that think they know my body and disability better than I do, surprisingly most People with a disability tend to have a greater understanding of how things will affect them and what works and doesn’t work for them, now I’m not silly I know that doctors and staff are medically trained I just believe that if they were to work with us and listen it would work more efficiently on both parties, unfortunately Some disabled people are unable to communicate verbally using other forms of communication they would mean Staff would need to be aware of this and not ignore it or brush it off as it’s still a valid way of communication.
Accessible Toilets / Shower Rooms
You would think being a hospital you wouldn’t face difficulties when it came to accessible toilet unfortunately this isn’t a case you’ll find that most are un-equipped and small leaving very little space to manoeuvre, This can create difficulties that can be dangerous as a wheelchair user who needs assistance from one or two careers, it can become an even bigger challenge if you need a hoist for toileting as there is no space what so ever for this to happen, you wouldn’t think that in a hospital the layout of accessible toilets would be so bad but this isn’t just in hospitals, most people take for granted but for some of us its the thing of nightmares.
You’ll find most Disabled people have a family member, career or a PA (personal assistant) that are with them everyday to give them that extra support, most Disabled people I’ve spoken to feel that they wouldn’t have had the essential care and support from the hospital staff that they needed day-to-day, I was lucky enough that my recent hospital stay the staff where pretty good in checking in regularly with me when my husband wasn’t with me, I did have the odd occasion where my dinner was cold because staffing was low, having muscle weakness in my arms I’m unable to lift my arms to grab food or drink myself.
I find myself concerned though after speaking to several disabled People in similar situation to me, that their stay in hospital was worrying for them as nurses rarely check in, the worry of medication being given on time, it’s not down to the fault of the nurses or HCA it’s down to short-staffing, to take that added pressure of them and have more resources for staff to help patients with disabilities and complex needs then there needs to be more provisions in place for careers, PA’s, family or friends to stay in the hospital with them, its down to the simplest of things to make it earlier for carers or PA’s to stay overnight like a z-bed and a comfortable chair as most often it’s the carers, PA’s and family doing more work than Hospital staff when their in hospital.
Equipment and Aids
When you think of hospitals your first thought should be high-tech and lifesaving equipment well mine does, we are pretty lucky to have the NHS it has some amazing Equipment that do some incredible things, with that your thinking would be Hospitals would have the best easy access for disabled people, wouldn’t you!? Unfortunately that’s not the case at all, in fact hospitals are inaccessible in so many different ways, lack of equipment such as hoists is just one of the reasons why some disabled people feel hospitals aren’t disability friendly.
Hoist are the only way to safely help a Disabled person unable to stand or be manually lifted themselves without causing unnecessary injuries, being moved manually can cause unnecessary stress and discomfort, this can leave some disabled people having to go without the medical treatment they require,
It’s the smallest and simplest of things that can help improve the accessibility of hospitals for disabled people and their careers, having access to vital equipment to hand to help I.e a hoist available to every ward, having someone they know stay with them at all times, quick fact sheets on the different disabilities for them to understand a small amount about the Disabled person, these small and inexpensive changes would make the world of difference to most Disabled people.
Whats are your thoughts on the NHS??
Are you disabled and had a bad experience when in hospital send me a message with your experience/s