"Staff lack understanding"

About: Tameside General Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as other),

I was visiting a patient on Ward 5, Tameside Hospital. The patient was in a 6-bedded ward, none of the other patients was on an intravenous infusion or had a ‘nil by mouth’ sign above their bed.

A drinks trolley was brought into the ward. All patients were asked if they wanted a drink. My friend and another patient asked for a cup of tea, and another patient’s visitor asked for a cup of tea on his wife’s behalf, and helped her to drink it. The other 3 patients were not given drinks. The daughter of one of them arrived and asked why her mother didn't have a cup of tea. She was told ‘because she said she didn’t want one’. The patient’s daughter explained that her mother has dementia and can’t always express her own needs. Her mother was then given a drink and managed to drink it unaided. There were no staff around on the ward during my visit (I was there over an hour) and I did not see the other two patients assisted with a drink.

Staff lack of understanding/training about importance of adequate fluid intake

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Response from Lindsay Stewart, Deputy Director of Nursing, Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for sharing your comments and observations around ward 5. It is difficult to give specific information about individual patients as each individual needs can vary. Some patients can be on a fluid restriction chart, in which their fluid intake will be significantly lower than other patients. Patients who are on fluid restriction often are aware of how many cups/glasses this equates to in a 24 hour period and will choose when to have their fluids, so it can be spaced throughout the day and early evening.

Staff on the ward are aware to encourage and assist patient’s where required with diet and fluids and recording is undertaken. We do recognise that nutrition is a fundamental part of nursing care, and it is treated with priority in the care of our patient’s on the ward. Since receiving your comments every member of staff has been made aware of your observation, and it has also been discussed at the Ward Meeting. Thank you again for your comment.

Kind regards

John Goodenough

Director of Nursing

’Would you like to help the hospital to improve its services further? We are currently looking for patients and carers to become involved in a development called “Patient Stories”. We want to know more about our services from the point of view of those who received them – what was good, bad, what could be improved, what should be changed. Want to know more about what’s involved? Please contact John Goodenough, Director of Nursing at


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Update posted by GPenny (other)

This response not helpful because:

If the elderly patients who were NOT given drinks were on restricted fluids, I would have expected some sign that the orderly understood this (maybe checked their charts?). There was nothing said by these patients about restrictions. They would all have needed to be assisted to sit up in bed (this was not offered) and maybe also assisted to drink, but no help was given.

Staff should have known that the lady with dementia (whose daughter had to ask for a drink for her mother) was quite capable of drinking a cup of tea, even if she gave the wrong answer when asked.

This may seem like a small matter to a lay person, but, as an RGN (retired) myself, I felt it was very much worth bringing to the attention of hospital staff.