"Poor first experience of the District Nurse service"

About: Coventry And Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust

(as a relative),

I had occasion this week to ask our GP to arrange a visit from the District Nurse: my wife had had a fall following an infection, and we were concerned about the long-standing lymphoedema problem affecting her legs. The surgery rang on Wednesday to confirm that the referral had been made, and then I got a further phone call checking the details and saying that the Nurse would call.

The District Nurse rang the doorbell around 10am one morning. She came in, took one look at my wife's legs, asked if the doctor had seen them to which we answered no. She pulled out her mobile phone and asked me for the surgery's number, saying the Doctor needed to come and visit, adding this wasn't within their remit. When pressed, she replied she hadn't got any dressings big enough to fit my wife's legs, which are extemely swollen and always have been. The rest of her visit was taken up filling in a folder of forms: she criticised the state of our bedroom which I fully concede would've appeared very cluttered to her, she offered otherwise to supply us with a hospital bed for my wife if she wanted one and said she would get the Occupational Therapist to visit.

Our GP phoned shortly afterwards and arranged to call round early afternoon. Just before the GP was due to arrive the doorbell rang again: a physiotherapist and occupational therapist had turned up unannounced and so we ended up with those plus the Doctor all in our small bedroom together.

I then went out to get some food plus the prescription the Doctor had left: by the time I got back, had given my wife something to eat and helped her use the toilet, she was feeling very tired and said she just wanted to rest undisturbed. However there was a knock at the door: the Distict Nurse had come back unannounced with a colleague and said they needed to examine my wife's heels, which were sore and painful. Had she phoned beforehand I'd have told her my wife wasn't really feeling up to it and asked her to come back the following morning - but she didn't. So they came in, donned aprons and gloves and started to examine my wife's feet, but caused my wife considerable and obvious distress by their lack of a proper "bedside manner" and I had to ask them to leave.

The upshot of all this is that my wife has had a bit of a panic attack early this morning - consisting of retching and violent coughing (although she wasn't physically sick) - at the prospect of further disruption today and has asked me cancel any further visits until she feels well enough to cope with them.

The worst part of all is that it was totally preventable, if only people had let us know when they wanted to come - but only the Doctor did so.

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