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High Peak Liberal Democrats

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My positive experiences of going into hospital

November 17, 2014 10:13 PM
Originally published by LDDA - The Liberal Democrat Disability Association
Last year I went into a local NHS hospital for half a day for a small operation to have two of my wisdom teeth taken out.

The nurse who met me to do my pre-operation assessment the week before was very understanding of my anxieties and she explained everything clearly that would happen while I would be in the hospital. She saw from my notes that I have a learning disability.

My mum came along to the meeting to support me. She helped me to be able to speak up and to ask questions. She was there to support me on the day of the operation. As I arrived in the ward, I was very anxious about the day.

All the staff who worked on the ward were nice and looked after me. The surgeon and the anaesthetist came to chat to me and asked some questions. They all treated me well.

When I went down to the operation theatre room, my mum was allowed to come with me to support me and she was able to stay while I was given a general anaesthetic, so I felt comfortable and not as anxious.

First, I was given a gas mask to breathe in to make me drowsy and the anaesthetist gave me my anaesthetic by having an injection in the back of my hand. This means I was in a deep sleep so I could have my teeth out and didn't feel anything.

When it was all finished, I was taken back to the ward and I was looked after. The nurses phoned my mum so she could come and collect me. After a little while, they checked that I was fit enough to go back home. They gave me instructions about how to look after my mouth and how to take painkillers. The instructions were given to me very clearly so I was happy to take them and know how many painkillers I should take. It was a positive experience from start right through to the end.

Working at Mencap on our past health campaigns I know how important it is for people with a learning disability to get good healthcare. Lots of people with a learning disability get very poor healthcare. Not enough doctors and nurses understand how to treat a patient with a learning disability.

I think it is really important that doctors and nurses get even better learning disability awareness training in the future so that no more deaths occur in hospitals in the future.

I know from my experience, doctors and nurses often only need to make really small adjustments to make sure patients with a learning disability are treated well and are communicated with better, so they understand what is going on.