"Geriatric care not adequate"

About: Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Birmingham)

Anything else?

My elderly relative has been a patient in this hospital several times. He has had surgery, which was excellent, but the other care was not good. He has dementia, which makes it difficult finding out what has happened on the ward round. Unlike in a mental hospital, he does not have a mental health advocate, despite having a mental condition. Communication between staff and patients and relatives is appalling. The teams on the various wards do not seem to pull together at senior level. Carers cannot speak to consultants. On one occasion, my relative was sent home in worse health than when he came in and neither his GP nor his carers were warned about this so as to arrange extra care. Communication is primarily by telephone which is inadequate for Deaf carers. Letters/emails are a waste of time because they simply result in further telephone calls. There was also loud pop music emanating from a staff boombox in a bay occupied all by elderly people in two different wards. There is no light above the chair, only above the bed, making reading impossible and lipreading very difficult (which is important given the high prevalence of impaired hearing amongst elders). I would say that if you have a choice of hospital for your loved elder for a medical as opposed to surgical matter, don't choose this one, however clean and new it may look.

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Response from Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback on your experience at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. We welcome all feedback and would like to assure you that all comments are taken seriously and acted upon as part of our ongoing commitment to improving patient experience. We are very sorry to read that you had a poor experience of communication regarding your relative. Your feedback has been forwarded to Lead Nurse for Older Adults, who has responded: ‘We provide training for staff to care for people with dementia and use examples from any concerns raised as part of that. We will carry out some spot checks to ensure that the music being played is appropriate to the patients in the bays Thank you for bringing the problem with the over bed lights in the new hospital to our attention, we will now look at sourcing individual lights that can be used to read and support lip reading at the bedside particularly for patients with low vision. We have been looking at our wards which have been refurbished within the old Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and improved lighting was at the top of our agenda, as this is important for all our patients, but especially so for our patients with dementia. We have also ensured that the wards are painted bright light colours, have pictures to promote patients wellbeing and reorientation, have improved signage, as well as ensuring that any music that is played is of the patient’s choice. Please ask the ward staff to contact the Dignity Team on any further admissions to the hospital so that we can offer additional support’. The Lead Nurse is very keen to hear more about your experience and would welcome the opportunity to discuss it further. If you would like to do this please make contact via our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) team who will also be pleased to assist. PALS can be contacted by phone 0121 371 3280, by email PALS@uhb.nhs.uk , via the hospital website http://www.uhb.nhs.uk/pals-form.htm or in person by dropping in between 9am – 4.30pm (Mon-Fri) to the PALS office located to the left of the Information Desk in the main entrance of the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital

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