I obtained a copy of your excellent magazine whilst on a recent UK visit from my home in Spain. My husband spent 27 days in our local Spanish hospital last year, so I thought I would share our experience with your readers.
I wish to tell you that here, it is expected and indeed, compulsory, for families and friends to look after the personal care of relatives in hospital ALL DAY AND ALL NIGHT FOR AS LONG AS THE PATIENT IS IN HOSPITAL.
There is no provision given by nurses for assistance with feeding or washing, unless the patient is requiring specialised looking after following surgery.
Nurses are solely for nursing and care/attention after surgical procedures.
For general purposes, one could literally starve to death here, as meals are supplied in plastic trays with lids on and nobody can see if the food is eaten or not, and then the catering staff simply take away the trays after a set time without questions. The trays are placed at the foot of the beds on a table out of the patient's reach. If the patient is asleep, they are not woken or told that food has arrived.
The family will take care of all laundry except clean bedding which is provided by the hospital.
I have been told by an English lady at another hospital that she heard someone crying at mealtimes and eventually went out into the corridor to investigate.
She discovered a poor old man who was alone in a room following a stroke. He was unable to feed himself and was hungry and thirsty. He couldn't reach the buzzer to alert anyone to his plight. This lady fed him at each mealtime and ensured that he was given enough to drink between whilst during her stay and arranged for some help after she left.
If one is an ex-pat living here without the support/back up of a large family and circle of friends, it can be very difficult to provide the necessary attention.
Spanish families expect to live in the room with their relatives, 24/7, and sleep there in a lounge chair or truckle bed. Someone will move in to do their 'spell' of care and then they will be relieved by someone else on a rota system.
When an English person is in hospital alone, the Spanish ask them where their family is, and why has nobody come to help them? Sometimes they will offer to assist the foreigners but they obviously don't understand why the patient has been 'abandoned' (as they see it), without any help.
Having said all this, the health care is excellent here and there are associations set up by mostly English speaking volunteers to give limited assistance but on the whole, it is a completely different system and quite difficult to adjust to.
The English seem to expect/demand that the nursing staff give them what they would expect in the UK, but quite rightly, the Spanish say, 'You're in our country now, so adjust. If you need care in hospital and you don't have anyone to provide it, you will have to pay for someone to provide it for you.'
So be warned - this could be the way things will be developing for the United Kingdom if this slippery slope is not knocked on the head, sooner rather than later!
Mrs Sally Realey
Still human beings - 19 April 2013
Nothing free until we’re too old - 19 April 2013
I shall wear orange! - 19 April 2013
Can you do something about the Big Six Energy Providers? - 17 January 2013
A wealth of information - 14 January 2013
Campaigns & Issues
Woodland Court staff face secure future thanks to Brunelcare
Residents and staff at a retirement village in Downend have finally reached the end of two years of uncertainty, following the acquisition of Woodland Court by Brunelcare.
Previous owners of the 57 apartment village, Care Village Group, went into administration in June 2011, leaving the residents and staff with an uncertain future.
The top priority for the Bristol based charity has been to retain all 27 members of staff to ensure that the support services are maintained, whilst minimising any disruption to the residents.
Stamping their feet
THOUSANDS OF Post Office staff have taken part in strikes across the country following a dispute about closures, jobs and pay.
A staggering 88 per cent of Communication Workers Union members voted in favour of strike action, following a refusal from the Post Office to negotiate terms.
The 4,000 workers, from 373 offices, took part in the strikes in opposition to plans to close 76 offices.
They hope to protect jobs and services and secure a fair pay rise for Post Office staff - who have not had a wage increase since April 2011.
Competitions & Fun
Win a Doro PhoneEasy 515 handset!
We’ve teamed up with Doro to give four very lucky Mature Times readers the chance to win a Doro PhoneEasy 515 mobile phone.
The Doro PhoneEasy 515 has been designed to provide an easy-to-use mobile for people who might find mainstream handsets difficult or confusing to use. This beautifully stylish candybar phone features an easy-to-use camera enabling you to capture those spontaneous photos quickly and easily before sharing them with others.
The Doro PhoneEasy 515 has several user-friendly functions including a direct SMS key and a charging cradle to make charging hassle free. It also has a large keypad, enlarged text for easy dialing and messaging and a loud, clear sound.
Win a prize at home or away in this month's prize draw with Silver Travel Advisor!
Enter now and you could win a prize at home or away! How about a 7 night break for 2, with flights included, in beautiful Slovenia? Or a trip to London’s glitzy theatreland, staying in a 4* hotel? Both fabulous treats which must be won!
Silver Travel Advisor is a friendly website packed with advice, tips, information and honest reviews written by and for silver travellers (aged over 50). A team of advisors are on hand to answer queries (for free), and you can share your own experiences too.
Health & Wellbeing
Loneliness is a ‘ticking time bomb’
One in three people over the age of 50 struggles with loneliness – fuelled partly by a rise in later life divorces, according to an official study. Figures show almost seven million members of the baby-boomer generation and above admit to feeling lonely.
Research published as part of David Cameron’s plan to measure the nation’s ‘happiness’ said almost half of people over 80 feel lonely - many “much of the time”.
Campaigns groups say the study, by the Office for National Statistics, suggests the generation approaching retirement will be a “loneliness time bomb”.
Property & Finance
15 per cent of population claim financial worries are affecting their health
aspect of their lives
Leisure and Lifestyle
Singing you heart out
Music sensation Billy Ocean takes time out talk to Laura Heads about the release of his latest album and how making music has changed dramatically during his 40 year career.
The star has sold over 30 million records in his lifetime and has collected a pile of Gold and Platinum awards across the world. Billy’s unique reggae infused voice and musical style, representing his Trinidadian roots, are recognisable anywhere and it is that which has earned him his well-deserved number ones.
And the well-loved singer-song writer said that the way music is made has changed a lot since he first began in the 1970s. He said: “Music is now controlled by technology. New artists allow technology to control what they are doing.
New guide to travel insurance launched
THIS IS A handy to use and easy to read guide packed with tips aimed at helping older travellers when considering the purchase of travel insurance.
The guide came about as a result of the numerous enquiries we received here at the Mature Times’ offices regarding travel insurance for older people. MT Editor Andrew Young says ‘We receive many, many e-mails, letters and telephone calls from our readers regarding this subject. We know that as you get older travel insurance becomes more expensive, but there are ways that you can try to help offset some of these increases – and this guide can help you do that.’
I have received a copy of you paper from our Community Centre for the last two years and really look foreword to reading it. Thank you!