"Poor stroke care for my father at Carshalton Hospital"

About: St Helier Hospital

(as the patient),

I feel so disgusted by the treatment of my father aged 83 who was admitted to St Helier Hospital, Carshalton, after suffering a stroke on the 8th February 2007. Totally confused and unable to use his left arm he was put in a 6 bed area in the Stroke Unit. There were two other men when he was admitted who were totally bed ridden and unable to communicate. He was left in the ward with no other stimulation apart from the odd nurse flitting by. Not realising the extent of his stroke during the night he attempted to get out of bed and go to the toilet but fell as he had lost the use of his arm. He called for a nurse for help and when the nurse arrived she began shouting at him for trying to get out of bed. This upset my father and reduced him to tears.

The following day another two patients joined him in the ward. One was a woman. I think the woman was as distraught as my father as by now all privacy had been removed by this mixed sex ward. My father who is a proud man was reduced to using a urinal bottle which he could not hold properly and relieving himself with no help from the nursing staff and wetting himself and the surrounding area. I was taking four pairs of pyjamas home each night and he had to resort in the meantime to wearing an undignified hospital gown, which did not do much for covering certain areas. He was only given 1 hot drink for breakfast, 1 hot drink for lunch and 1 hot drink for tea. All these drinks were tea there was no option for coffee or hot chocolate. On one day they had not been given any water until visiting time when I had to go and ask for some. The food was uneatable and who in their right mind would give a stroke patient who could only use one arm an orange for their sweet!

Whilst visiting, the gentleman in the next bed tried to communicate with me but it was difficult to understand him so we pressed the buzzer for the nurse. The nurse arrived and disconnected his buzzer so he could not ring it anymore without even trying to ascertain what he wanted. We eventually managed to pacify him and with a little patience we found out that he wanted the bedpan. A similar thing happened when my father who also suffers from prostrate trouble rang for a urinal bottle, the nurse answered the call and did not return. When my father rang again, she shouted at him an asked ‘why could he not use the toilets like everyone else’, bearing in mind he had already been told he was bedridden. Once again he was reduced to tears and subsequently was so desperate to relieve himself, he wet himself.

At one visiting session we found two full urinal bottles under his bed that had not been removed, soiled tissues and blood stained cotton wool.

A lot of these patients in the Stroke Unit are elderly - is this a way to treat them, they are human beings just like anyone else. They are old and confused, a lot of them cannot communicate but it does not mean they do not understand what is going on around them.

Finally a week later my father pleaded and cried to come home.

_Patient Opinion forwarded this opinion on 27th February 2007 to St Helier to see if they wished to post a response._

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