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Saturday, November 13, 2010

NHS provides poor care for elderly surgery patients

BBC News informs us that "Hospitals must improve their care of elderly patients undergoing surgery, an independent review has concluded. Pain management, nutrition and delays were all highlighted as problems by experts from the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death. Overall, just over a third of patients were judged to have had good treatment."

I heard this discussed on Radio 4's Today programme the other day and was dismayed that the discussion was steered almost immediately into focussing on the need for better pain relief. - I may be in a minority, even a very small minority, here, but I believe the strong emphasis on pain relief is counterproductive. - What is far more necessary and far more beneficial is to work at pain prevention. - This means the surgeons should perform any necessary surgery ASAP instead of after considerable delays which increase the pain and emotional distress, compromise nutrition, extend the length of hospital stay, and result in more complications and greater need for rehabilitation and caring. - As far as I am concerned, stuff the pain relief and the dedicated pain teams and the multitude of pain-killers with their many harmful side-effects! Concentrate on getting the surgery done as a matter of urgency and compassion, and providing nutritious food and good nursing to promote a speedy recovery.