"I did not feel particularly safe or cared for"

About: Queen's Medical Centre

Although I am 87, I still have full capacity. However, because of my age, I was automatically put on a ward with dementia patients. Whilst I sympathise with the plight of these patients, my stay was sometimes made intolerable by the symptoms of these ladies' dementia. The nights were the worst as unfortunately, some of these ladies due to their dementia did not settle at all, but they would then sleep for large parts of the day. The nursing staff also contributed to disturbed nights by banging and clanging about and having loud and jolly conversations between themselves around the nurses station (which was in the next bay to me. They also carried on social conversations between themselves whilst attending to me and the other patients. Most nurses and care workers treated me as if I also had dementia. I wasn't listened to when I told them that I thought my catheter was blocked ( I couldn't possibly think that I wanted to wee - didn't I know that I had a catheter in?) The result was an overflowing catheter, and a soaked bed and me when my bladder bypassed the catheter as it was so full. One care worker insisted that I had been out of bed with a walking frame (I was still bedbound at this stage) and got me out of bed on her own, despite the whiteboard above my bed instructing that I needed 2 staff and the rotunda when I eventually got out of bed. I was left sitting in a chair for 2 hours as the staff were too busy to put me back to bed. I had not been out of bed for 4 weeks at this point. At times it would take more than 20 minutes for staff to answer the buzzers, particularly at night or during staff changeovers. On more than one occasion the nurses borrowed medication for me from other patients. My digoxin had run out and they gave me some from the lady in the bed opposite's supply. Paracetamol was regularly shared out. I was never allowed to choose my food from the hospital menu. The staff merely told me what was available - often a vague "oh I think it's curry or cottage pie today". Patients who were unable to feed themselves properly were not routinely helped or encouraged to eat. The food wastage is appalling on two counts - nutritional and financial. During my stay the ward had to be closed due to a Norovirus outbreak. I was a victim - could this have something to do with the "communal" medication I wonder£ My daughter visited me everyday for over 6 weeks as she felt that she needed to keep an eye on me at all times. It is a sad state of affairs when your family feel that they have to act as your advocate at all times whilst you're in hospital and feel that they have to check on how the hospital is looking after you. Hospital should be a place in which you feel safe and cared for. On this occasion this was not mine or my family's experience

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Response from Acting Patient Information Officer, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

Thank you for writing. We deeply regret the poor experience of care you describe receiving at our hospital. You are telling is here about a number of very concerning incidents during your time with us, and we would welcome the opportunity to look further into all of these. To do this, we would need to know some more information about your stay (in particular, the ward on which you were treated, and the date you were with us). Please get in touch with us by email to nuhcommunications@nuh.nhs.uk, we would appreciate your help in making improvements to our service and learning from where things did not go as they should have.