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Navigating The World – Part One

Sitting at Medi-Clinic waiting for an ultrasound (nothing serious) I am aware again of how frightening it must be for an older person, let alone someone with a disability or memory loss, to have to visit a hospital. It starts with finding parking – the best spots, close to the entrance are reserved for the doctors and hospital staff. (They come in in the morning, park and go home in the afternoon, not?) The parking spaces are squeezed in so tight next to each other that it is impossible to open the door fully.

Once you get into the hospital, finding your way can be a nightmare. In and out of lifts, long passages that all look the same. And then, when you eventually get to your destination, you have to inevitably fill out a form. These forms are all the same – the font is small, and the space to ll in your ID number or email address is never big enough. (If you are a Virgo like me, you like to do these things very neatly…)

I watch a person who is not very tall trying to see over the counter, where seven people are sitting behind computers, all talking on telephones attached to their heads. I am battling to hear the person trying to speak to me above the din of voices. All of this before I actually had my ultra-sound.

Imagine being old, confused and forgetful at this point. I cannot imagine that major hospital groups, who I assume to have about 60% of their patients over the age of 80 years, have not made any effort to be more age-friendly. And not just for older people, the same goes for children! The kids waiting with their Moms for ultrasound are climbing the walls – how about a play corner?

I cannot imagine the trauma for an older person to now be admitted and go through the next round of torture with forms, questions, more walking through grey corridors, more noise, and more confusion.

It is time, hospitals, it is time. Wake up and become more person-centred. It is time!

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