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

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

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?


My mother-in-law’s death at Dewsbury hospital

It is only now that we are able to speak about the dreadful experience we went through at Dewsbury hospital last year.

Last August my partner’s mother was taken to Dewsbury A&E after a friend called an ambulance for a suspected overdose. From arrival at A&E at 10pm to being put in intensive care 6 hours later (when we were notified) we still have no idea what happened during that time.

Upon arrival at the hospital we parked in the grounds car park to be met by a large piece of rotting meat covered in maggots. It looked similar to that of a lamb shank. The building also looked run down.

Entering the ICU we had a lot of questions and anxieties with regards to my partner’s mother’s health. However the nurses could not tell us why, what was wrong or possible recovery. We asked what happened on arrival and diagnosis? They couldn’t tell us. We asked about the overdose. They still didn’t know. Were blood tests done? Surely a hospital could tell us what she had taken. All we were told is that the doctor will speak to us.

3 days later the doctor finally came to speak to us. He briefly said that her breathing had deteriorated and a problem with blood clotting. We asked about the overdose. They didn’t know if she had taken anything. Should they know this by now, shouldn’t they have pumped her stomach on arrival?

After another 2 days in ICU nurses came to us to say they were turning the machines off the next day and they didn’t know if she would die straight away or 2 days later or months. We left the hospital distressed and unable to cope with what was happening. As we left we noticed a family of ducks had made home at the fire escape glass doors on ground floor, the staff had even put a paddling pool out for them. Bird muck covered the door, windows and pavement. I began to wonder what this place was.

Bracing ourselves the next day we entered ICU to be told that she had been taken off the machines and put onto a ward. As we entered the ward a very rude nurse told us we could not see her. We went back to ICU to tell nurses there to speak to nurses on the ward to let us see her as she was dying.

On the ward we expected her to be in a side room, instead she was in an open ward with 3 healthy-ish (not dying) looking ladies sat up in bed, looking over at mother-in-law who was hooked to oxygen, made horrendous noise with each breath and unconscious.

Not only could we not grieve but she had no dignity in her last hours. No longer could we take this torture, I had to battle to get the nurses attention from gossiping with other nurses to request a side room. My request was declined.

A day later she was moved into a side room, still for those days before she passed away we had to ask nurses to give her pain relief, the response we got was that she had not asked! She was unconscious, how could she ask? Each time we entered the room she would moan trying to communicate, we knew she was in pain.

After she passed it was such a relief that no longer did she have to suffer at the hands of the NHS. Only recently did the coroner’s inquest state that she died due to overdose and that unanswered questions should be taken up separately with the authorities.

Nearly a year on we can only just speak about this, especially the unknown anxieties that we suffered.


My dad’s death

My dad was taken into Durham Hospital on the friday. He has 13 children, so we were all there as our dad had never been ill enough to ever go to hospital he was a very proud man.

First of all they told us he may be going to die, then they told him he was going to, without asking if he wanted to know. Then they left him and his wife for the night and all of us kids going out of our minds.

Then on the saturday afternoon they said he had a fighting chance of making it. We were all so happy, then I saw him on sunday looking so much better.

Then on the monday morning I got a phone call saying he had no longer than 24 hours, so to get to hospital to say goodbye. This was the worst day of my life.

Then when I got there I said my goodbyes, but none of us wanted to leave, but as he was on a ward we got told to wait in corridor till they moved him to a private room so we could be with him. Then a security guard come and told us he knew our situation, but we had to leave the corridor as we were intimidating others.

They never moved my dad to his own room. The proud man we all loved died in a room with 3 other men. They knew for 15 hours he was dying and they just left him.

proud mammy

Social workers & medical staff would send dying woman home

Further to my concerns on this site about my mother being sent home to an empty house social workers, I can report that my mother died earlier this month.

I don’t understand how medical staff & social workers diagnose my mother as medically fit for discharge when all along, our concerns were raised about mum’s condition. My 2 brothers and I could see she was in no fit state to be discharged so why couldn’t the medical staff and social workers?

I can’t name the people involved within this site but unless action is taken on their positions I will name them elswhere on the internet and defend my comments in court if need be. Needless to say I’m livid this has come to this. If it had not been for my 1st comments on this site and these comments being picked up some some sensible people, I believe my dying mother would have been sent home to die. At least she was on morphine when she went and her final hours were peacful. We cannot learn in this world unless we listen to those more experienced than us and a degree in social care means nothing unless it’s followed up by listening to others and learning.

To finish off I’d like to say thank you to the nursing staff who showed my mother kindness on the ward but the medical staff who said she was fit for discharge need to look more closely at the devastating situation their decisions can make to a life and indeed need to be able to spot when a person is dying, the family could. Lastly I have to say that I found what I believe to be an element of fear in some of the nursing staff comments to us about the decisions taken by social workers and medical staff. I wonder why that is? Something for the hospial to redress maybe.

I know there are departments within RDGH that do a great job and many lifes are saved and good work is being done so this is not a general critisism on the hospital as a whole. We need this local hospital to work for all, including the elderly, so please work to that end and let’s not have this situation arise again, but from my experience I’m not confident this will happen.