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Views And Reviews Acute Perspective

David Oliver: Hearing loss in hospital

BMJ 2019; 367 doi: (Published 04 December 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l6726

Rapid Response:

Re: David Oliver: Hearing loss in hospital

Dear Editor,

This article rings a bell for me.

During 2019, I was contacted by two relatives, in the context of their discovery of ReSPECT forms in an elderly parent's notes: in each case, the relative was angered by the ReSPECT form, and also told me 'the form did not correctly describe my parent's position'. One situation was in hospital, the other was at home. And a common feature of the two situations, was that the parent in each case was elderly, and also had significant hearing loss which the person often 'tried to hide'. The ReSPECT forms had been completed by conversations between the patient and a nurse, without a relative being also present: it seems that in both cases, the nurse was misled - by the patient 'seeming to indicate understanding' - into believing that the patient was following and understanding the conversation, when in reality that was not the case.

Which to my mind, reinforces the importance of involving 'people who know the patient'.

Competing interests: No competing interests

06 December 2019
Michael H Stone
Retired non clinical
None Private Individual