Hospital Treat Couple with Distain - Loren and Rob's Story

When Rob went into hospital a barrier arose between us and the staff because Rob is vision impaired and we both have learning disabilities.

We were not communicated with in plain language and therefore we did not understand what Rob’s treatment involved. There was no discussion regarding Rob having chemotherapy, and no support person was put in place to help us understand the procedures he was undergoing. This made it extremely difficult to make decisions as we did not understand anything and were made to feel dumb and scared. Rob was very angry as there was no information provided about the side effects of the medication he received. I was very despondent about Rob’s experiences as I had to make decisions for both of us. We felt we were expected to make difficult choices without appropriate input from medical staff who failed to take the time to listen to us or explain his treatment clearly.

Accessibility legislation could make it mandatory for all medical staff dealing with patients to explain their treatment in a way that is easily understood using plain language. Support people should be available for disabled people undergoing hospital treatment.

This is my access story, it is one of many. I'm sharing it because I want a law that puts accessibility at the heart of an inclusive Aotearoa New Zealand.

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