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27/09/2011

Should families help look after sick relatives in hospital? The head of the Royal College of Nursing says patients on busy wards benefit when families step in. But is it right?

Should families help care for sick relatives whilst they're in hospital? The head of the Royal College of Nursing wants to encourage family members to assist with feeding patients and with toilet duties when nursing staff are very busy. Dr Peter Carter says the NHS is facing problems with elderly patients in particular, because there isn't enough long-term planning for their care. And he's suggesting hospital visiting times should be extended to allow more families to get involved. So should they do more to help hospital staff look after their elderly relatives? With an ageing population and a health service already stretched, does it make sense to get families involved in their care? Or do you worry that this could be the thin end of the wedge? Whether you're a patient, a nurse or other health professional, we'd like to hear from you. 03700 100 400 is the phone number, or you can e-mail via bbc.co.uk/radio4/youandyours. Or you can text us on 84844. We may call you back on that number. You'll be charged at your standard operator message rate.

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