"A & E visit with my father"

About: University Hospital Aintree / Accident and emergency

(as a relative),

Several months ago my father was taken to A & E by ambulance as he was very unwell, and as he has a pre-existing condition there was some cause for concern, so they wanted to err on the side of caution. Upon arrival he was put in an isolation bay due to his symptoms. Most of the nursing staff were pleasant and efficient, in spite of it being a busy night shift. The doctor that treated him was an outstanding example of how to engage with patients. She explained everything to my parents in a way that did not patronise, that provided all the necessary information, and reassured them that things would be ok. She was not prepared to allow my father to go home until she had personally examined all of his test results to be certain he was fit enough to go home.

Two blots on the landscape however. As ever the waiting at A & E with an ambulance patient was terrible. Then once moved to the bays, there was limited seating in the isolation bay. There was one chair which my mother used, but she is disabled and needed us (her daughters) there to support her and my dad. When we asked for a chair we were snapped at, yet other bays had five chairs around them. I understand the necessity for cleanliness and thus not shifting chairs between isolation bays and normal bays, but is it really appropriate that the family members supporting patients are forced to stand for hours on end?

The second issue is somewhat more important and I really wish I had spoken out at the time as it has concerned me ever since. The man who removed the cannula from my father’s arm did not sanitise his hands between patients, and bear in mind my dad was in an isolation bay, he didn’t clean his hands after touching my father and moving to the next patient. He didn’t wear an apron when in the bay either. The last thing that really bothered me is that the man taped the dressing he was going to put on to my dad, to his tunic, he removed the cannula, then he put the dressing from his tunic on to my dad. By this time it was half way through the night, we were all exhausted and emotional and I am absolutely certain that my dad would not have been happy if I had made a fuss about this as he just wanted to get home as soon as he possibly could.

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Response from University Hospital Aintree

Hi, and thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. We're really happy that you were satisfied with the care shown to your father by the nurses and doctor you met. We're disappointed to hear however that you felt concerned about the infection control standards demonstrated during your father's care, when his cannula was removed. If you'd like to talk about your concerns further, our Patient Advice and Complaints team can help. You can contact them by emailing customerservice@aintree.nhs.uk, by calling 0151 529 2400 or by writing to: Patient Advice and Complaints department Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Lower Lane Liverpool L9 7AL Thank you.

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