Natalia* is a lady with mild learning difficulties and mental health issues. She had been married to her husband, Peter, for over 10 years and he was her life. Peter developed various health issues which meant that Natalia had to look after him in his last few years, she described her time with him as the best time she’d ever had.

Peter died of a heart attack whilst in hospital, which left Natalia with mixed feelings of guilt and confusion over the timeline of his death and the circumstances that led up to it. She wrote a complaint to the hospital, but felt that the reply she received wasn’t honest or easy to understand.

The reply from the hospital left Natalia with more questions and even suspicions, and she felt she had nowhere to turn.

How we helped

One of our Independent Advocates helped Natalia by reading through the letters between herself and the hospital, the Advocate realised that the letters used language and information that Natalia was struggling to understand. The wording was difficult to follow and she didn’t understand the meaning of some of the words they used.

Our Advocate talked Natalia through her options; that was writing another letter asking for a plain English reply, or to set up a resolution meeting to understand the circumstances around her husband’s death. Natalia decided to have a resolution meeting, supported by our Advocate.

The Advocate asked that the meeting be held in plain English with the use of easy-to-understand terms and words, and that the professionals from the hospital give Natalia enough time to make sure she understood and could process their replies.

The professionals at the resolution meeting were excellent, giving Natalia time to process the information and explaining their answers in a straightforward way that she could understand. The meeting was understandably very difficult for Natalia, and there were numerous times she had to leave to compose herself but the professionals were very patient.

Our Advocate took notes of the meeting for Natalia and sent these to her after, so that Natalia would be able to remember what was said and can refer to them if she needed.

After the meeting was over, Natalia felt she now understood what had happened, and didn’t feel guilty. She was also able to visit the place where she had scattered her husband’s ashes. In all the confusion and grief of her husband’s death, she had been too emotional to visit him, but now with the understanding, she felt she was now able to pay her respects.

*Names have been changed to protect the people we support