"Negligent care - an update on January 3rd"

About: University Hospital Lewisham

This review is an update of a review I left on January 3rd 2014. It concerns the care of my friend and neighbour 'N', currently a patient on Oak Ward in Lewisham Hosp's Riverside Building. He was admitted via ambulance on Dec 26th with severe breathing problems. He is (nearly) 87 and lives alone. I've known him 14 years. N does all his own his food shopping on line using his computer (he's very computer literate) as he no longer feels able to go out of doors. Until this point in his life he has taken care of himself entirely. N was admitted to Oak Ward over the Christmas holiday period. I was first able to visit him on Dec. 29th and found him confused and distressed. The nurse told me he had fallen out of bed during the night - a result of steroid medication and his shortness of breath. I visited him again twice over the next five days. By January 3rd he had been on Oak Ward nine days. At this stage I noticed a broken area of skin on his left elbow - it was a bed sore and had resulted from his being in bed in the same position for too long. I alerted the nursing and medical staff. I visited again on January 4th and was pleased that N had been moved in to an air bed. At least this would minimise damage to his skin if he needed to be nursed in bed. On this occasion I took him fresh fruit and juices in an attempt to improve his hydration. He was very uncomfortable due to 1.Constipation and 2.Pain (from his constant coughing, and maybe from his fall in hospital) Today - Wednesday January 8th - I am able to visit again. I am delighted to see that N is sitting out of bed. He is free of the oxygen pipe and drips. His chest is much improved. I am able to speak with the excellent Ward Deputy Manager. She is a credit to Lewisham Hospital and to the whole nursing profession. She is able to tell N and myself that he will be assigned a social worker who will assess his needs before he returns home. She takes my details, with N's consent, and will include me in plans for his home coming. She and I both hope that he will be eligible for some degree of home care assistance to enable him to cope at home - a much cheaper option than residential care. I would also single out the Oak Ward orderly for her kindness, patience and positive attitude towards N. Nurses and carers like them are vital, fundamental and seminal to the welfare of patients. N is not home yet. I will visit again in a couple of days. My impressions of Lewisham's Oak Ward? It is clean. There are single sex patient bays, electric beds, well stocked linen cupboards and appetising looking hot meals to be had. The medical care is good - but sparse at the weekends. My greatest concern is that some of the nursing/carer staff are not always noticing the basic needs of their patients. N's broken skin on his elbow should have been flagged up by the carer who gave him personal hygiene on the morning of Jan 3rd, and not by me - a visitor and friend.

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Response from University Hospital Lewisham

Thank you for comments and bringing your observations of the ward and staff to our attention. It is always very disappointing to hear any issues relating to nursing care and I am sure you appreciate that I am unable to respond directly regarding specific patients for confidentiality reason. As you will be visiting again in the next few days I was wondering if you would like to discuss this further with one of our Matrons. Grace Stevenson is the Matron for Oak Ward and would be happy to talk to you about this. She can be contacted via bleep though the hospital switchboard. I would also like to thank you for your positive feedback regarding the members of staff and I will ensure they receive this feedback . I do hope your friend’s health is improving . Anne Cleary Head of Nursing (Interim) Acute and Emergency Medicine University Hopsital Lewisham Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Trust

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