Does your department welcome carers of vulnerable patients?

Published: 18 April 2017 Ezine

A campaign to support people with dementia in hospitals is appealing to radiographers to help ensure the rights of patients.

“This should be seen by practitioners as being good compassionate clinical practice,” Tracy O’Regan, the SCoR’s professional officer for clinical imaging, said.

“As well as focussing on people with dementia, it raises wider questions about the care of any vulnerable persons in our imaging and therapy departments.

“If a patient depends on someone in the outside world, then they must have that support in hospital as well.”

A charity called John’s Campaign is calling for the right of people with dementia to be supported by their carers in hospital. It was founded after the death of Dr John Gerrard, the father of journalist, Nicci Gerrard. 

The charity’s aims have been likened to the drive in the 1960s to allow parents to stay in hospital with their children.

“By following the principles of John’s Campaign, radiographers can enable and ensure the rights of a patient to be accompanied by a carer in all waiting, changing, examination, and treatment rooms,” Tracy said.

“Patients will only be in our departments for relatively short periods of time in comparison with wards and care homes, but we should agree to share in this commitment to our patients and the people who support them.”

Nicci Gerrard says her father “Went into hospital strong, mobile, smiling, able to tell stories about his past, to work in his garden and help with things around the house He was able to feed himself, to go to the lavatory, to keep clean, to have a good kind of daily life.

“After five weeks he came out skeletal, incontinent, immobile, incoherent." 

Trusts and boards have been signing up to John’s campaign.

“We know there are many departments which welcome carers and provide compassionate care for them and the people they are looking after,” Tracy said.

“We would ask them to join the campaign and use the resources such as posters to make it obvious to visitors to the department that they are welcome to stay together.”

Tracy also suggests emailing Julia Jones, co-founder of the campaign, a 50-word statement to be added to The Observer list of hospitals and departments which welcome carers. Examples can be viewed here.

For departments that do have a policy in place, please email Tracy O’Regan and Julia Jones.