That is the question I have been asking myself.
Why is it there are never enough pillows for patients’ comfort? When I worked on the wards it was a persistent problem and now as a hospital visitor I find things are no better. In this age of high-tech health care it seems we are unable to provide the basic kit to look after patients. It is difficult to make the elderly and frail comfortable with insufficient pillows. You need them to help support a patient or one of their limbs in an optimum position.
Recently I took in an extra pillow for a relative who was on a ward where the nurses said there was a shortage of pillows. On my next visit I found that one of the hospital pillows had subsequently been removed to leave us with the same number that we started with.
A patient at a hospital in Gloucestershire made it into the local paper with his tale of being in hospital and daring to ask for a second pillow. He was told the hospital was short of pillows. In fact he was told it was short of everything including nurses. He suggests that soon ‘a pillow’ will be on the list of things to bring into hospital when admitted.
Apart from the issue of patient comfort, looking for basic equipment is a common waste of nurses’ time that has been highlighted in productive ward programmes. Blankets are often used as makeshift pillows in the absence of the real thing, which of course only produces another question. Where have all the blankets gone?
So on reflection the question I should probably be asking is not ‘Where have all the pillows gone?’ but ‘Why were there not enough to start with?’. Those responsible for ordering equipment need to make sure that for patient comfort and to save nurses’ time that there are sufficient pillows for nurses to do their job. It’s not too much to ask.