"We had to feed and clean my mum in North Tyneside Hospital"

About: North Tyneside General Hospital / General surgery

(as a relative),

Just before Christmas my mother of 90 years was admitted into North Tyneside Hospital for suspected bowel problems. She was in late stages of Alzheimer's Disease. She was in a side ward for almost 2 weeks.

The care was appalling as was the state of her room. Attached to the wall was a suction bottle full of blood and body fluid left by the previous patient. This remained there for nearly 3 days. The room was dirty and there was an array of tissues and items covered with gunge and dust behind the radiator.

The staffing was terrible with only 3 nurses available for around 34 patients. These patients were in various stages of illness.

My mother was incapable of lucid speech and also of feeding herself. Every day food would be dumped in front of her and left. It would be retrieved within 15 minutes untouched. For the first few days she received no nourishment at all. This was despite the family telling the staff of this. Her clothes became soiled and were not changed.

The family then decided to step in and help. This meant a shift system of actually sleeping on the floor next to her, then waking to feed her and clean her. Even when this was done the family were never offered even a cup of tea. We adopted a shift system to clean, feed and care for my mother. We brought our own food for her and changed her bed.

Drips were left many times without checks and many times they failed. Lines were pulled out and medication dripped into the bed. When we challenged the staff (we had to be careful with our conversations because we did not want them to retaliate and take it out on our mum) the said that it was best care they could give because of understaffing.

The communication was also terrible. On numerous occasions the doctors never turned up as they had promised. Once we waited 2 days to speak with any doctor.

When my mother was eventually released from the hospital she went downhill and died within 2 months.

In conclusion: the medical care was terrible, the personal care appalling and the communication unacceptable.

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Response from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

I am sorry that the care your mother received was not our usual standard, we would like to talk to you regarding this care so that we can look into the points raised. Please contact either Rosemary Stephenson, Director of Nursing, or Debbie Reape, Deputy Director of Nursing on 0191 293 2730.