Time and Place. Choose an appropriate time and place away from distractions for both you and the person you are speaking to. Remember that hospital staff have to ensure the immediate care needs of the patient are met before they can attempt to deal with any issue you wish to raise.
During nurses hand over time between shifts is often a bad time for them to allocate time to see you. If necessary ask for a specified appointment time when they can give you their undivided attention.
Raised voices over a nurse’s station are never a good idea as this is likely to disturb other patients and gives both sides no privacy.
Nominate a Spokesperson. If several members of the same family are involved in the care try to make sure one or two act as spokes person. Hospital and social services staff do not have time to call every family member with every piece of information for every patient. Usually a named next of kin is in the case notes as first contact.
Confidential Information. If the patient has asked for information to remain confidential then staff have to respect the person’s wishes even if their carers disagree with this.
Joint Meetings. The patient can ask for a carer to be present but they must let staff know. If the patient asks for a carer to tell staff their views on their behalf this is also possible and staff should allow this. The patient can ask for an independent advocate who is not necessarily the carer. Any of these situations should be recorded in the patient’s notes.
Frustrations. There are occasions which staff have no control over such as waiting times for ambulances, waiting times at external clinics, length of time for procedures to do major adaptations to the home.
What about me? If you have concerns about your own health and your ability to cope with the care role tell staff and ask what options are available to help you.
Respect. Staff should treat all patients and visitors with respect and they are entitled to expect the same. If you have a problem with a particular member of staff ask to speak to them privately. If this does not resolve the issue ask to speak to their line manager.