Last week, while trying to organise a hospital discharge, I was called into a hospital MDT (multi-disciplinary team) meeting to try and gauge/update the status of a particular service user.
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This particular hospital and this particular ward hold a few demons for me. It is a hospital that is in a nearby borough and not the most ‘common’ hospital but occasionally we have patients there.
My last interaction with this particular ward was a good few years ago and it involved a particularly complicated attempt at a discharge home which involved an unusual care package and lots of home adjustments.
I remember with terror the MDT meeting as one of the most intimidating I had ever faced. The Consultant was a real growler of a man. He expressed such contempt for other members of the team along with an absolute assurance that he was completely right about everything and knew better than everyone else. He wasn’t particularly unpleasant to me but I remember the way he completely undermined and criticised the occupational therapist and one of the nurses (who had both been rather pleasant and friendly towards me in all my interactions) during the meeting and it remains for me a resolute lesson in how not to behave.
So yesterday I went back. On my way to the meeting, I bumped into one of the hospital social workers. Well, she bumped into me really. She greeted me warmly by name and inquired as to how things were going as it had been a long time since we had caught up. She asked about my team and gave me a run down on the current politics in her team.
And honestly. I had no idea who she was. She clearly recognised me and knew me. It was a warm greeting so I smiled and nodded and chattered away but nope, no idea who she was. That’s always a little disarming, especially as I hadn’t even recognised her. At least it was a particularly warm greeting so at whichever meeting or training course we had met at, I’d obviously been quite pleasant which is a good sign!
So back to the meeting – there was a different consultant this time, much younger .. am I getting older or are all the consultants getting younger?… hmm.. don’t bother answering that!
It was a different kind of meeting, in a way. It was much more formal than the MDTs I have been used to attending. I was swiftly ‘told off’ for speaking out of turn but fortunately, it was very professional and there wasn’t any of the pure nastiness of the last encounter.
I also reflected on my own greater confidence and understanding of the situation. Time was, these kind of formal meetings unsettled me but I feel a lot better able to challenge, discuss and present. I expect that’s just the progress of experience but I walked away from the hospital feeling much more satisfied having put a few bugbears to rest.