Social Policy Research for Cornwall
HOW TO LOOK AFTER YOURSELF IN HOSPITAL
A guide for patients in the era of coronavirus
Dr Peter Levin
– SECOND EDITION –
There is a long tradition, in the English-speaking world and elsewhere, that it is not the duty of hospitals to encourage and empower patients to participate in decisions about their treatment. Doctors and managers can act as if patients aren’t entitled or competent to have a say in those decisions. In England, during the coronavirus pandemic that kicked off in 2020, decision-making rules were introduced that might almost have been purposely designed to allow doctors to avoid seeing matters from a patient’s point of view.
This wouldn’t matter so much if hospitals were places of safety. But they aren’t. They are places where you can catch infections from other patients; where bureaucratic routines can mean long waits for tests and assessments; and where being confined to bed for much of the day – albeit under the supervision of very caring and well-meaning ward staff – can leave your body and mind out of condition. To successfully come through all these adverse circumstances, you need to be able to look after yourself while you’re there.
If you are in hospital, if you want to get home as soon as possible, and if you believe you should be able to ask questions about how you are being treated, this guide is for you. It is intended to help you understand what is going on, hold on to your sanity, challenge decisions about your treatment that don’t seem to make sense … and then, when you feel ready, escape!
The complete version of this guide can be downloaded as a pdf file (157KB) here.