Poor nursing.

My father in law was admitted to Sunderland Royal Hospital ward E53. I found the medical staff to be very good. Good at communicating and caring.

Some of the nursing staff on the other hand were unprofessional and very uncaring.

My father in law was put onto the Liverpool care pathway and it was explained by the doctor who was very good.

After this discussion we were asked if there was anything we wanted so I requested a side room as his breathing was noisy and thought it would be more pleasant for us and him and the other patients. This was on the Saturday and we were told by a male staff nurse that the bed manager said there wouldn’t be one available until Monday which as he was only to survive until Monday seemed a bit late. I suggested another ward or moving out a fitter patient but said that was not feasible. A room did come available on the Sunday however. I did wonder if he would ever have got a room if I hadn’t pestered.

He was having sedation as he was rather agitated at times so I asked the nurse at the nurses station if he could have some and be turned at the same time. 40 minutes later it hadn’t arrived so my husband went to ask again and the nurse said she hadn’t been to get it due to being too busy. It arrived in the next 5 mins. I feel it is too long to wait, thankfully it wasn’t analgesia. We asked for him to be turned as it had been 6 hours she said she would be back. 10 mins later she did not appear so we did it ourselves. When she did appear, I wasn’t very happy and asked her how often she thought he should be moved and she said 4 hourly even though 6 hours had lapsed. He certainly wasn’t given 4 hourly turns for pressure care.

Ways in which they could improve care: – when the doctor takes the family into a room and discusses the Liverpool Pathway, a nurse should also be present so that she can tell you what the nursing care pathway will be. What we were promised from the doctor about the nursing care was certainly not the case. Once he was deemed as terminal, we never saw nurses for dust.

When in a side room with a dying, patient relatives need support as well. A nurses head put round the door every hour or so to see if the patient is ok wouldn’t kill them surely and would show caring and compassion for others which apparently is sadly missing in the trained nurses.

The sister appeared on the Monday on the ward. Her desk was opposite the room we were in. She never once came to introduce herself or look in on my father in law which I thought was very unprofessional and uncaring. The other nurses didn’t either. We had to go and find them if we wanted anything and then wait. I felt as though we had been put in a room and left to our own devices with no care for the dying in place.

My husband was concerned about leaving at night because nobody was coming in through the day for about 6 hours and that was when we were there. What hope did he have of getting any attention at night? The most friendly and attentive staff were the support workers and the domestic staff who did dare to venture into the room to ask if we wanted cups of tea. Thank you.

All in all a very frustrating and disappointing hospital stay. Highly disappointed in the qualified staff and feel they put nursing into disrepute. My father in law did die and needless to say we didn’t get there in time. They said there was someone with him but am loathe to believe them as to how little attention they gave him through the day.


My Grandfather’s last days

I start my story from the last days of my granfathers life after a 12 week battle of complaints direct to Wansbeck’s CEO and complaints people trying to save his life and ensure things are done properly.

I get a phone call from ward 8, granddad has deteriorated again. My son and I head up there. His score was 6 early in the morning now back to 2 Whilst there he gets some blood back from the lab, we are told to gown up and gloves on, granddad is still MRSA positive. The woman visiting the patient in the bed opposite looks horrified. We gown up on a 6 bed bay ward just outside granddad’s bed. I feel for the woman opposite, she has just overheard that her husband is sharing a bay with a man with MRSA.

Dr came to see us before that to express concern and advise they are still treating granddad, however the next 72 hours will give us the direction this is going in. Dr tells me he’s very ill despite being brighter yesterday.

The gent in the next bed seems anxious. I ask my son to advise the nurses he comes back and tells me that he has been advised that R doesn’t need the loo he has a catheter, I then go and tell the nurse R is agitated, the nurse comes along, thanks me for advising him but does nothing, 2 mins later 2 other nurses come in and find they need to change R and make him more comfortable. R is left to rest behind closed curtains. Why couldn’t the first nurse see this and do something about it?

Another patient is wearing granddad’s slippers, his daughter gives them back to me. Her comments are who is watching these patients? My answer would be no one, they fend themselves but I kept my mouth shut.

I was a committed NHS person, always gave more hours than I received in pay, I have the belief we have a duty to give as much as we can, its better than simply taking. I love my job, but this experience challenges my loyalty, I feel like telling it to them all straight, you could have done this better it didn’t have to be like this, just a 12 week catalogue of disasters where opportunities were given to improve, and they were simply missed. I’m not looking for blame just improvement and change to ensure people learn by experience and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

I tell the nurse that announcing that my grandfather has MRSA with other visitors present is not acceptable. Her words are that X told me to tell you that you need to have pinnies on. I will not name the nurse, its part of a culture so hardly her fault. I cannot be rational at the moment. I tell X he can tell Jim Mackay after tonight’s episode forget talking, I’m too upset and emotional to deal with this right now. Angry isn’t the word. I’m devastated.

I go back to check on granddad he’s brightened up since the drip has started working his eyes are open, he winked at me and I got a smile when I told him I would be back. I held back the tears until I got in my car then I could not hold them back any longer, when will this nightmare end for us both?

24th May 2009

There’s no fight left in me today, I hold grandad’s hand its as if we have both given up.

25th May 2009

7:11 am I get a call to say granddad has deteriorated further I need to go in. There is nowhere for my granddad to die with dignity, there are no spare side wards. I am shown the plan of the ward and asked to pick a corner. I picked the corner that would be the least disruptive to other patients. Being asked to pick a corner for my grandfather to die in, what has happened to dignity? Those words haunt me to this day.

Dr explains that Granddad is to be put on the dying patients care pathway, I ask if they can allow him to go home to die, But granddad died later that day at 5:11pm during tea time and visiting behind a curtain. I said my good byes, I’m numb and my heart is broken.

12 weeks of hell behind me leads a two year wait for an inquest.

I believe it’s not an isolated case, it’s the norm. I say ask the 2500 members of Cure the NHS North East.


Lack of care for my dying brother

My brother was diagnosed with a brain tumour and was taken into the Oncology ward at the Churchill as it became obvious that he was reaching the end of his very limited life expectancy.

The nursing care I saw was dreadful. Care was not involved – my brother, who could no longer co-ordinate his hands, was given food covered with cling film, that he could not remove from the plate, without dropping all the food to the floor.

His pyjamas were not changed until family members rooted out nurses from their almost continual chat gaggle by the nurses station (and yes, it was chatting not patient matters they were talking about).

My brother wasn’t washed or shaved. Bedlinen stained with faeces was left on the floor by his bed all day. His jeans stained with faeces were left in his locker. He was not fed and my sister in law – only 8 weeks after finishing chemotherapy – had to spend most of every day with my brother to ensure he was cared for.

Eventually my brother went home, as my sister-in-law could not bear the indifference with which the nurses seemed to treat a dying man.

And why wasn’t I there? Because I was having an emergency life-saving operation at a hospital in the same trust.

But this is not the only time some of the Oncology nurses have treated patients with disdain. Earlier this year my friend’s father was in the same ward and lo and behold he was treated in exactly the same way. Staff only intervened when pushed by family.


Getting home to people that care.

What I liked

Getting home to people that care.

What could be improved

Being treated as a human, not a number or customer.

Anything else?

Firstly, i have 3 experiences at Medway.None of them were pleasurable.

1.Maternity ward(My wife left alone with baby wanting help whilst nurses made jokes and talked about who got off with who.)

2.Kidney stones operation. After spending 4 hours waiting in pain in Surgical Assessment Unit, transferred to a ward of people dying, spent 2 days in ward before being told i can just go home before demanding kidney stones be removed.

3.Mother in Law brought into medway with a bad back. Isn’t she in enough pain without being told she has to have a Lumbar puncture?Mum also acquired Pneumonia whilst in medway, was told she had not long to live and she was still moved to another ward without being told!

You have 2 types of care at medway:

one for under 50’s

and one you might not get out alive.

My advice is go private.

Mr Angry

Lack of communication around my mother’s death

My 91 year old mother was admitted to St George’s in Wandsworth in July this year. She was weak and suffering from shortness of breath.

Following an unexpected bereavement, my mother had stopped eating. Although she had a lot of support she had reached the stage when she couldn’t eat – a sort of anorexia. Arrangements had been made by the community team for her to see a psychiatrist as a matter of urgency. She was already taking anti depressants, but they wanted to see if anything else could be done. She had also been taking co codamol for a long time, to help with severe back pain.

I was away when my mother was admitted. On my return in mid August, I was aware that my brothers and many other visitors were concerned, so I asked to speak to her Doctor.

This is what emerged:

No arrangements had been made for her to see a psychiatrist. Some communications mix up was blamed.

She was dependent on co-codamol for back pain but in spite of repeated requests by my brothers these were not being prescribed. One brother was massaging her back to try to help her, but nobody seemed to care.

This means that her last days were spent in more pain than was necessary,

Although it seemed clear to me that my mother was dying, the doctor seemed content that her breathing difficulties had been cured and arrangements were being made to move her from the hospital. A very nice resettlement person came to see her that afternoon. I doubted my judgement on her condition. At this stage she had a catheter, she could not speak and was taking minimal amounts of food and drink. She was very weak.

At this stage a psychiatrist and co codamol were promised. I have no idea if the medication was ever given.

The following day my mother died. According to a witness this seemed to surprise the medical staff.

My brother received a call from the coroner to say that the cause of death was unclear. It was pointed out to him that at some stage over the past few days my mother had fallen out of bed. This had not been reported to us.

These are my observations:

If my mother had been a young person, I can’t help thinking that her malnourished state would have been taken much more seriously. This says something about the way the NHS treats older people

Given the IT at our disposal I cannot accept that my mother’s notes, including her need for co-codamol, had not been communicated.

My brothers’ (and other family members) requests for co-codamol were ignored, presumably because nurses did not pass them on to a doctor. My brothers did not understand what seems to be the unwritten rule – that unless you spoke to a doctor, action could not be guaranteed.

Ideally, somebody would have identified my mother’s true condition and had the humanity to warn us and suggest a Hospice. We could have afforded to pay.


The sudden death of my father: good people, poor system

My father’s health suddenly deteriorated. My mother phoned for an ambulance to get him into North Devon District Hospital.

It was only when this happened that I became aware of the severity of his health. 6 days later he passed away.

What was good

All the staff on Fortescue Ward were excellent; the nurses, the catering staff, the administration people, everyone. The quality of care was excellent. My father was made as comfortable as possible, and everyone made time to respond to questions, provided support and help when requested. The ward was extremely busy, yet the nurses were continuously calm, patient, very comforting and made themselves available when needed. The doctors answered all my questions, even the tea lady knew my father’s name and treated him with great respect. I cannot stress how impressed I was with every individual that I came into contact with.

What was not so good

There were delays in obtaining a medical disgnosis. The operating model of working in separate teams and transferring a patient from one team to another decreased the communication consistency, altering information (an analogy Chinese whispers).

The lack of one person taking responsibility resulted in the participation of large number of different people that had a massive impact; different faces, different names – making it very difficult/impossible to have consistent communication and made it very confusing for me to cope with, even more so when I was trying to come to terms with the process of losing my father. The team working resulted in a recommendation based on inadequate information as the full picture was not understood. Consequently, inappropriate decisions were made, that is now causing me heartache as I am working my way through the grieving process.

No difference would have been made to the outcome of his death, but the chaotic way of making a diagnosis, telling me and then 2 hours later advising me to find a place to move him to, as that he was no longer in hospital, based on inaccurate information and what I felt was driven by the need to free up the bed, is causing me a lot of pain. I should have been sitting by his bedside, not spending my time investigating nursing homes.

I needed someone to help me understand the dying process and help me understand what was happening to him, so I could be there for him, not frantically trying to organise a place for him to be moved to, full of fear that the hospital would have to move him to another ward and be faced with dealing with another set of faces and be surrounded by other patients. I felt that I was manipulated, pushed it a corner, rather than being with my father.

I fully believe that everyone involved wanted desperately to do the right thing and their hearts were in the right place. I see this was driven by the hospital administrative pressures, a failure within the hospital operating model and processes designed without taking into any consideration that patients and relatives are people, who should not be rushed through a workflow process at great speed.

I want to talk to the hospital about my experience and to work with the hospital to improve other people’s experiences. I will approach the hospital directly, but there if there is any support that can be given to make my voice heard, I would appreciate it.


My sister’s experience of the liverpool care pathway

Earlier this year, my sister was admitted to an Ward 5 with a stroke and she was not given a clot buster as part of her treatment. Approx 3 weeks later, the relatives were offered the opportunity to remove all her treatments including hydration and nutrition. At this stage, they refused the offer. She was not offered speech therapy nor physiotherapy – not even for her affected arm which was becoming very contracted. In late May, a progress meeting was held where it was decided, in my view illegally, that her treatment should be stopped. However, because I queried the legality of this, they checked the Mental Capacity Act and found that it was illegal. In spite of this, the consultant said they would not give her any antibiotics, should she need them. I wrote to the medical director, the chief executive and the consultant requesting a meeting, which they ignored.

Instead soon after, they transferred her to a local Nursing Home where, in my opinion, she was illegally put on the Liverpool Care Pathway. She was not dying and the relatives were not informed until after she was put on the LCP – we were not informed until after she died 15 days later. I feel we were lied to and deceived by the nurses and the medical staff and especially by the doctor I spoke to after my sister’s death. I believe she tried to fudge the course of events and muddy the waters by eternally quoting the importance of her “professional Judgement”.

I am finding it incredibly difficult to come to terms with the loss of my sister but importantly that she died alone, because we were not told that she was put on the LCP. I believe the senior staff at the hospital and all the people who I feel deliberately deceived us at the Nursing Home should be ashamed of their lack of professionalism.

My sister was in Airedale Hospital for almost 4 months. She did not have her nails cut and they were long and thick. When I asked if it was possible to cut her nails, I was told by a care assistant that they had to go on a course to learn how to cut nails and anyway they didn’t have time. When I next visited her nails were cut but only on one hand and not her toe nails. Her mouth was in a disgraceful state with huge white spots, I wondered whether this was thrush. I cleaned her mouth when I could, but it was very sore. On the positive side, some of the nurses were lovely and the ward sister was also very supportive, albeit reticent about my sister’s care plan.

In my opinion, PALS was positively useless, as were most of the agencies who purport to be on the patients side. I did not receive any help or useful advice. It is a shambles. This is a short version of what has been a complete nightmare.

carme miranda

My Mothers’ care

I sadly lost my mother in March last year. She was in and out of Whiston Hospital for the last two years of her life. It has taken me this long to write this review as I am still grieving – even now – one lonely year on. I had many concerns about the poor care which my mother received in various wards in Whiston such as making sure she was fed (she was registered blind) on many occasions I found that she hadn’t been helped with meals – she was an insulin dependent diabetic, she was comatose on many occasions. I did complain at every opportunity, two complaints were dealt with by senior managers and I and my mother received letters of apology which said things like there have been lessons learned, however, it still happened again the next time she was admitted as an in patient. The last time she was admitted she had suffered a stroke and had a bad case of shingles. She was treated on ward D2 with dignity but I am sure sure hat this was the case because she was dying – care of the dying was good. I only hope other people do not suffer as my family have suffered with memories of poor care from our NHS.


No where to sleep for relatives

In January this year my wife was admitted to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital for aggressive non Hodgkin’s lymphoma as well as rheumatoid arthritis. She did not have long to live, so I requested that I spend the last three or four days of her life with her in hospital. But there was no room at the Hallamshire for relations of dying patients. There was no where to sleep so I had to sleep in a chair which was very uncomfortable because of my weight (I am 20 stones) and problems with my knees.

Another problem I had was when I tried to call the GP surgery at Mosborough and they were closed for lunch. Why can’t they keep open during lunch breaks?


Maybe hospitals are too big now

My concern is that hospitals have become far too big and impersonal.

Whilst some of them are indeed filled with ‘state of the art’ equipment, the very fact of their size allows a larger number of people to be in the same place complete with various viruses and bacteria – surely that increases the risk of cross infection? Large hospitals are also more difficult to keep scrupulously clean.

When we had smaller hospitals dotted around the districts, naturally there weren’t so many people contained in them or visiting them so this would keep cross infection to a minimum. It also made them easier to manage and maintain on all levels, including hygiene.

I’ve also been in large hospitals where relatives were spending their last days in mixed sex wards, surrounded by bedside TVs, bleeping monitors and computers, yet the broken sink beside their bed remained unrepaired and leaking huges puddles over the floor at the bedside. We asked several times for something to be done about the puddle on the floor because we actually had to sit with our feet in it while our mother was dying.

A nurse arrived a long time later and threw some hospital bedding on the floor to soak up the water. Meanwhile, the computers continued to bleep and the nurses continued to be busy.

The NHS has a lot going for it, but computers aren’t what heal people. Cleanliness, hygiene, promptness of treatment, genuine care and consideration for the individual goes a long way towards the healing process.