"Exceptional nursing care vs poor communication"

About: Countess Of Chester Hospital

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My mother was admitted to Ward 45 with acute abdominal pain just over 2 weeks ago. All of the nurses I met were extremely helpful and Mum said they looked after her very well. However we experienced conflicting/confusing communication at times between nursing staff and the surgical team with regards to Mum's condition. Mum was prepared for theatre on 4 consecutive days to be told around 9pm that she could eat as there wasn't a slot for her in theatre. Fair enough - but that information wasn't relayed to us at a time when my sister and I could have travelled over 30 miles to visit her. When my sister phoned to ask how Mum got on in theatre she was told that she hadn't gone to theatre, Mum had just eaten and was comfortable but the consultant wanted to speak to the family before he operated. Of course alarm bells began to ring and my siblings became very upset feeling that Mum's condition must be very serious if Dr wanted to see us all before operating. I took my last remaining day of annual leave to attend this meeting at Mum's bedside, one of my brothers lost time at work, the other one couldn't make it as he works nights and needed to sleep and my sister was upset at having nobody to cover her absence in Shrewsbury where she works for the Nuffield. Dr 1 explained the serious nature of the surgery he felt Mum needed as there was a possible cancer in her bowel. Worrying but clearly important for us to know. Later Dr 2 suggested we wait and carry out further investigations following MDT. He pointed out Mum's enlarged gallbladder and areas of concern on Mum's CT scan then further explained the radiologist's report that mentioned possibility of cancer but included other possibilities. We were fine with his decision but after all this hype there should have been a more clear explanation after the virtual colonoscopy with regards to what was going on. Mum was given no explanation and simply told to go home by the surgical team's registrar. Mum went home last week still not feeling well and has been readmitted today! Let's hope the care she receives continues to be excellent and that the surgical team find time to explain their expert opinions based on evidential knowledge obtained from the investigations carried out last time and that they come up with a satisfactory course of action to avoid repeated admissions for the same problem. The Dr looking after Mum in EAU today has been so kind & explained the results to Mum - something that should have happened prior to Mum's discharge last week. We all feel much happier - particularly as I had offered the possibility of the diagnosis they have made as an alternative to cancer!

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Response from Countess Of Chester Hospital

Dear Sir / Madam, We are sorry you feel your mother had a negative experience. We take all patient feedback very seriously and therefore we will use your comments to see what we got wrong. Please be assured that your comments have been shared with our Director of Nursing & Quality. Please feel free to contact the PALs Department on Freephone 0800 195 1241 and select option 2 or email cochpals@nhs.net to give us more information about your experience. This will also give us the opportunity to feedback to you personally regarding any improvements we have been required to make as a result of your comments. The Patient Experience Team

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