Despite the existence of agencies to “assist” people who complain about care, in all fields of healthcare (I will not list them here); many whistleblowers will report that complaining is not easy. There are numerous historical and recent cases illustrating the many problems and cover-ups, plus effects upon the complainant who may be a member of staff, a relative, or the patient. This may refer to all countries. I welcome other examples.
One issue seems to be repercussions on the patients. Many do not complain in fear of this aspect.
What repercussions may ensue?
Some relatives have actually been banned from visiting the patient, or been removed from their role in the patient’s care. The patient may be wrongly deemed to lack mental capacity and the relative excluded from decision – making.
The patient may go to hospital from a care home- and not be accepted back. It may be declared by the care home that it is “unable to meet the needs of the patient”.
Indeed, care of the patient may actually be withdrawn as it is declared “nothing more can be done for the patient.”
Analgesia (pain killers) may be given later or refused- or answering the nurse call system delayed.
Certain staff may avoid the patient or be rather cruel towards him or her, as a result.
Many years ago a patient refused a life-saving operation- she received very little else in her hospital bed. This case is linked to decision making of patients and how much autonomy they are deemed to have. Much research has actually been done regarding this aspect and the responses of staff as a result.
A patient may be discharged early from hospital in response to complaints received.
There may however be seemingly positive responses to complaints received;
The patient is well prepared visually for example dress, before relatives arrive.
Extra care is taken of visitors.
Additional notes are made in care plans- but they can be falsified.
Some complaints may actually be appropriately dealt with, and this may benefit the care of other patients, relatives, ad staff.
It is time people accepted that these situations DO occur. They need to address WHY. Whose needs are we protecting?
There are many cases and publications that illustrate the existence of the above cases- should people demand published evidence.