"The essence of nursing care seems to have been lost"

About: Rochdale Infirmary / General surgery

(as a relative),

My elderly relative was an inpatient in Rochdale Infirmary for a moderately serious procedure. She was advised of a hospital stay of approx 10 days. Things did not go according to plan and she ended up staying for 4 weeks. During this time I was dismayed to find that, from what I saw, somewhere along the way the essence of what it is to care and nurse for someone who is ill has been lost.

Patients are often frightened, unable to communicate needs adequately and in need of nursing staff to be able to pick up on unvoiced cues and behaviours that can help to make their stay in hospital more comfortable and indeed safe. The notion, that nurses now look after a 'team' of patients and therefore cannot answer any queries about anyone who is not in their team, seems like nonsense. In addition, the fact that patients nutrition has been removed from the nurses area of responsibility, is astonishing and seems downright dangerous.

To be told that (a) the nurse did not know what my grandmother had eaten for that day or (b) if she had in fact even been asked what she would like to order from the menu and (c) the patients diet is not the nurses responsibility it is up to the catering staff, is ludicrous. No wonder patients leave hospital malnourished and take longer to recover from operations.

I always said I would not harp on about the old days of nursing, but unfortunately I have to now. We had a real sense of how to care for people, we did not view ourselves as above such actions - assisting with diet, rubbing someone’s feet when they had cramp, making sure that pressure relief was being looked after. I was often in charge of a 32 bedded ward and I knew what each patient had had done, the stage of their recovery, how they were faring with their dietary intake etc. We had to report this to matron twice a day.

By all means keep university education for nurses but instill in them the basics of nursing and what it means to 'care'.

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