Mother has severe spinal curvature due to fractures but needs to lay on a table for a scan

My mother has a bad curvature that is affecting her severely in recent years but she manages. Now she has a need for either a CT scan or colonoscopy, both of which involve laying on a flat table, which is impossible for her. I’m surprised and disappointed that lack of consideration and advice available, and I honestly don’t know what way to turn. She needs to have her bowels checked due to a stool test that gave a high threshold score, and the choice is risk more fractures or don’t do any investigations and potentially go on unaware of any cancer or other issues. I am beside myself frankly and there is seemingly no one or no where to get advice. The Royal Osteoporosis society don’t seem to account for people as severely disabled by osteoporosis as my mum, it seems to be more about preventative treatment. The GP more or less said to her “do you even want to have treatment?”, more or less implying she’s one foot in the grave already. I know the NHS is under immense strain and I’m trying my best to be understanding to these professionals limited options but when it’s your own parent it’s very hard. No alternative options have been given and she is petrified of doing any sort of scan. She visited the consultant yesterday and he and the nurse got her on the table, while I was in the other room, and she sounded in a right state. I never heard my mother cry in utter fear before. I have no faith if she’s left in other peoples hands she’ll get the care that her particular case needs. What can I do?!


Can you contact the CT scanning department she would be sent to, to discuss your concerns? They have all sorts of pillows and frames, so it may be possible for them to get your mum into a suitable position for both her safety and the scan. There was a lady I met during my hospital treatments that had various physical issues but they did help her to get the scan done.


Pegasus is absolutely right.
Mum should always be treated with dignity and respect, allowing enough time to reassure her and ensure she is comfortable.
If necessary they can sedate mum, even play music for her while it’s being done.


Dear SimonA
I am Kristie I am an online community host for Carers UK. I would like to say I am sorry for the situation you find yourself in and I hope the situation is resolved even if its resolved with our help. I would like to say welcome to the forum! You are not alone in your caring role and I am sure that many on here will understand exactly how you feel and will offer you the support that you need. Caring can be very lonely and the pandemic has made caring responsibilities challenging many carers have been socially restricted and unable to attend social groups etc.
Carers UK are running online weekly meet ups for carers and you can find the information on how to register at Care For A Cuppa:-Online meetups | Carers UK. The second online weekly meet-up is called Share and Learn and it is to be found at:-Share and Learn | Carers Scotland.
Our telephone number is 0808 808 7777 and is open from Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm and our email address is (
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Best Wishes

@SimonA I agree with @Pegasus I called and asked about cushions-pillows and also because my mum needed lungs scanned putting hands over her head for a long time can get painful…they were helpful…

Re what the GP said…in my experience it’s not ‘one foot in the grave’ it’s also about how some treatments can accelerate/worsen medical situations…
If you’re her carer/health Power of attorney you can ask to sit in, or ask questions yourself

Based on what you’ve shared questions top of my mind
Have they looked at cancer markers in blood tests - yes, no, what did they say (several markers indicate possible cancer)
Is there blood in her stool samples - hence high threshold score or what exactly does that mean
What exactly would tests show or not and what would be the subsequent action/recommendations?

These days SOPs lead to investigations, the subsequent options and the risks of those options entail a larger discussion…TOGETHER with quality of life, risks of procedure itself, and implications of doing and not doing something…

You can talk to the GP and getting a bigger picture context. You can discuss with your mother how much pain and procedures she’s willing to endure…I’m sorry I’m being very direct because I know this situation very well with my father…and had pre-emptive discussions with my mother…
There is a point where there are treatments/care to ensure her pain and symptoms are managed and whatever causes are ‘controlled’ as best as poss. This may mean less invasive action, but also not curative aim/goal…

Sorry Simon…I hope these thoughts are some help in this horrible situation.