I went to a resolution meeting today at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, Birmingham, where I had a total hip replacement operation last October. My efforts to draw their attention to my bipolar, triggers, warning signs and coping strategies fell on deaf (or merely unprepared?) ears. Today I was delighted to see that when my advocacy worker from POhWER (ICAS) and I began to raise the issues of our desired outcomes from the meeting, the policymaker and the senior nurses present had already put in a lot of effort to deal with co-morbidity issues - not just for mental health sufferers coming to them as inpatients, but for all pre-existing conditions (diabetes was mentioned).
It gave me hope!
Here are the promised outcomes (which I think are a model for other hospitals to follow):
1. Advance Statements to be used in all cases of co-morbidity, and those patients who do not have one to be encouraged to draw one up before admission; (for those who do not know, an Advance Statement tells health professionals and others what symptoms they might see and how to deal with them - and how NOT to deal with them - for example, if they see me shivering, I'm not just cold, I'm going into a 'down' and will need a darker and quieter room);
2. Equalities policies will include one for patients - not just staff;
3. Carers will be allowed onto the ward as soon as a patient comes up from recovery, even during 'protected' mealtimes;
4. The hospital will work with the mental health trust to put safeguarding measures in place for mental health sufferers coming in for operations, including access to a CPN (Community Psychiatric Nurse);
5. I'm going to be invited in to co-deliver a workshop on mental health, with a senior nurse. My testimony will be videoed for future use.
There is always hope, where minds are open and people have goodwill...
Best wishes to all
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