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Care for older people: Nira's story

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I am a carer for my elderly sister-in-law who was recently admitted to our local hospital. After seeing a consultant, she was put on a high dosage of medication. Shortly thereafter she started to feel an enormous amount of pain in her legs.

English is not her native language and she struggles to understand. As a result, she was unaware that the doctors had but her on such a high dose and unable to communicate about the pain she was experiencing. I was told that the consultants had tried to explain to her using hand gestures, but she clearly didn’t understand.

I felt that hospital staff didn’t make an effort to communicate in a way that was easy for my sister-in-law to understand. She also suffers from a mental health condition and this experience had a negative impact on her mental well-being. Being in a hospital is scary for anyone, but it was especially scary for her because she didn’t understand what the consultants were saying or giving to her.

At no point was she offered an interpreter. In fact, my husband had to meet with the consultant to put through an interpreter request. This was frustrating experience for us as her carers, but it also highlighted the issues faced by people who are non-English speaking. Without an interpreter, a visit to the hospital can be an isolating and scary experience.

Last updated:
29 May 2017


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