"Staff communication"

About: University Hospital Lewisham

I write on two matters on which I have, hopoefully, some helpful comments. 1) My cousin aged over 80 visited his sister and sat with her for half an hour. When I arrived he said she had not spoken or moved. It was obvious to me that she had passed away and I found a nurse, who said she would come and see to her. How could someone be allowed in the room and to sit for that length of time without being told of the death? 2) When visiting my partner in the hospital and again when accompanying him to an outpatients appointment, he gave completely wrong answers to questions asked, e.g. when asked to confirm his address, he instead gave his date of birth. This was due to his impaired hearing. I am concerned that this sort of mistake could lead to dangerous situations if hard of hearing patients give a wrong answer to a question regarding say, medication or bowel movement, have you eaten? etc.etc. Surely all staff could be trained to deal with all people and to be aware that mistakes can happen due to deafness or other impairments, especially where older people are concerned.

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Responses

Response from University Hospital Lewisham

Thank you very much for feeding back your recent experiences at Lewisham Hospital. Please find below responses to both points individually; 1) I would like to confirm that itt is not at all acceptable that your relative was not informed that his sister had died and I apologise most sincerely for this lack of communication and any additional distress caused. I would, very much, like to meet with you and your cousin to both apologise and discuss this further. Please contact me via the Lewisham Hospital switchboard on 0208 333 3000 and ask them to bleep 2905 : Annie O'Lone, Matron Acute\Elderly Medicine 2) I am very sorry that your partner's hearing impairment was not identified when he attended a recent outpatient appointment at Lewisham Hospital. I would like to assure you that Equality & Diversity training is mandatory within our organisation to ensure that staff are aware of the need to make reasonable adaptations when speaking to or caring for patients. If staff are made aware of a patient's need for additional support this should be documented in the patient's medical notes so that everyone caring for the patient is informed. I am very sorry that staff were not responsive to your partner's needs on this occasion and I will ensure that your comments are fedback to staff and ask them to ensure that their Equality & Diversity training is up to date. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Jo Peck, Head of Nursing\Deputy Service General Manager Specialist Medicine

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