Make a list of the people involved in your person’s care. Find out here who they might be Using the example of Salford Royal Hospital
Make sure you’re clear about your person’s ‘pathways’ – the term used to describe how they’ll be treated, cared for and/or rehabilitated. Ask who is responsible for what and what the timescales are. What is a pathway?
If things are taking too long ask why. This is especially important with young people when there should be as few gaps as possible between acute stage care and rehabilitation. If your person has been in a coma they will need to relearn things. The longer it takes to start the process the less likelihood of their best possible recovery. Find out more about being in a coma
Make sure that all the assessments, paperwork and systems are in place to support your person before they move wards, hospitals, rehabilitation units and definitely before discharge into the community.
Before discharge to the community ask about a Community Care Assessment What is a community care assessment?
Make sure that whenever your person is moved their notes and records go with them. Ask when you arrive at a new place if the notes have come too. If they haven’t insist that the new place taking care of your person makes it a priority to get the notes and records. We’ve learned that this is very important and things can go wrong if the notes aren’t immediately available to new staff. After all how can you look after someone appropriately if you don’t know anything about them? Notes are important because they should be the continuous legal record of what happens, who is involved in what’s happened and what’s going to happen next. It’s our experience that notes can be ‘altered’, ‘lost’, ‘mislaid’ and ‘not available’. The first is certainly true but the last three certainly are not. You can request hospital notes at any time and if you have a legal case you will need them. They’ll be difficult to understand and you may discover things you didn’t know before. They will upset you. But be brave and plough through. They’re important. Some hospitals charge for copies of medical records and hospital notes.
And most important of all ask what you really want to know
Is my person going to die?
Will my person be disabled and what are their disabilities likely to be?
What does this mean for us? Brain injury is an unknown quantity but you still need an idea of what to expect.
Where can I get help?
Remember you can ask all of the above and you can expect answers so don’t be afraid to talk to people. Even if they are a consultant or a manager. Who is everyone?