I have the right to say 'No'. It is my life and my decision.
My name is Clark and I live in a small residential home supported by Milestones Trust. I have a visual impairment, epilepsy and autism; all things I am supported with to ensure I lead a full and active life.
For many years, my greatest fear has been anything to do with doctors/dentists or anything related to medical procedures. Even hearing that someone else needs to visit the doctors, or if someone is ill, upsets me and I find it very difficult to cope with. To alleviate some of my fears and make visits easier for me to cope with, I have always been offered PRN medication. Yes, this helps with the procedure but always means I lose a day each time and cannot attend my chosen activities, as I find I am very tired and need to sleep.
Over the last few months, I have been talking to the Home Manager where I live and she has explained to me about STOMP. I understand that this means “Stop Over Medication of People” that may not need or wish to take certain medication. I have given this subject a lot of thought and decided I would like to share my story with others.
I have always accepted PRN for all medical procedures and appointments. This includes having chiropody treatment and visiting the dentist for a check-up. Jeanette, my Home Manager, asked me if I would consider having any treatment without PRN. At first I was quite scared about this and was not sure if I would be able to manage. Jeanette assured me it was my decision and if I decided I needed the PRN, it would be available and no procedure would take place if I said “No”. I gave this a lot of thought and decided I would have my chiropody treatment without PRN; I have gotten to know Nikki who comes to cut my nails and I feel comfortable in her company, so I was happy to have a go. I have now managed to receive 4 lots of treatment without any PRN. I still find it unnerving and get a bit worried but with the support of the staff, I have managed. I have even negotiated with Nikki that I receive a foot massage at the end of the treatment. The fact I do not feel I need PRN for this procedure means I can continue with my day after the treatment and I am very proud about making this decision on my own.
Last week, Jeanette reminded me that a dentist visit is booked for later this month. She asked me whether I would like PRN for the visit, something I have always requested in the past. She explained it is for a check-up and I would be supported by her and another member of staff. Jeanette left me to think about what I would like to do and I have decided that I do not want any PRN on the day of the visit and I am hoping I will be able to manage. This is my decision and my choice- something I think is “Flake”. “Flake” is a word I use when something has gone well or I think it is good. The PRN is kept in stock and I know if I change my mind, I can ask for it before we go. But at the moment, I do not think I will.
There has been lots of discussions on Radio Five Live about medication and the use of antibiotics and other types of medication. I think we should be looking at how “bombs” antibiotics are dished out, as people do not always need them.
I have the right to say ‘No’. It is my life and my decision.
Since writing this, I have been to the dentist, I have booked my next appointment and I’ve had blood taken at the doctors with no PRN medication. I celebrated with a pint in the pub.