Tuesday, 5 June 2012

A bedtime story

From "The Medical Registrar" (facebook)

Once upon a time, there was an elderly care team of doctors who became very concerned that none of their demented patients were being fed at lunchtime.

So at the expense of their own lunchtime, the three junior doctors went round feeding and watering the patients as best they could.

This did not go down well with the "patient experience matron" especially when the local MP and the Chief Exec witnessed this and asked why the doctors were feeding the patients.

In response, the trust banned all medical staff between 12:30 and 2PM from the ward so such embarrassing scenes will not recur.

And that was how protected mealtime (at least at one hospital) was born. True story.


  1. the a&e charge nurse5 June 2012 at 11:18

    Interesting story - is there a source for it?

    Only 3 doctors who are concerned about undernourished oldies - not many out of the overall population?

    I am going to play devil's advocate here - isn't there a parallel with tory MPs who live on benefits for a week (to prove things aren't so bad for the scroungers) before returning to their comfortable life in the Westminster bubble?

    The treatment of oldies IS a scandal (in some cases) but all health staff are complicit to the extent that we have adopted a production line model of care, and changed the nature of hospitals to keeping people alive factories.

    Instead of expecting docs to serve up hospital slops in the lunch hour is there any possibility of reducing bed occupancy from >98% to the recommended 85%, and not only that but recognising the labour intensive nature (with inevitable cost implications) of providing adequate nursing care amongst a population of frail, debilitated, demented, and often uncooperative patients?

    The matron may have put the hospitals financial needs ahead of those starving on the wards but let's be honest, isn't this almost par for the course in the current dog-eat-dog climate?

  2. It's ok if they don't feed the patients in our local hospital because they don't help them to order food, either. My elderly father with dementia spent a long time there last year and it took a while to realise he was ordering two sandwiches a day then having a slice of toast and a cup of tea for breakfast and a cup of tea and a couple of biscuits in the evening. So what's that? 1000 calories? 1200 calories? Hardly worth having, but a sarnie's easier to cope with than a proper meal.

    I started taking food in with me and getting him to eat it while I was there. OK, it was junk food, but at least it had some calories in it.

    Protected mealtimes make me angry. My father was going short on food and I couldn't sit with him and make sure he ate what he did get.

  3. Protected mealtimes when you're on maternity wards are damn daft too. If your husband / partner / whoever gets to stay with you during mealtimes then they can tend to baby whilst you eat. Being alone with baby just means you tend to baby and leave your food to go cold. Why can't they see this?

  4. Junior doctors should only feed the animals at the management section. Beware of bites.