"Communication and Care"
About: Arrowe Park Hospital Arrowe Park Hospital Wirral CH49 5PE
Elderly relative was in ward 22. She is blind and partially deaf, and unable to walk or stand unaided. She was left with drinks and food on tray where she could not reach. Lost over half a stone in 2 weeks, which she could not afford to lose as already frail. She was supposed to have food and fluid charts, but the food charts only appear to relate to what was generally for lunch that day, not what the patient had eaten. Pointed out to staff that she could not see drink on tray as she is blind to be told oh sorry didn’t know, despite being assured that all staff dealing with her were aware she couldn’t see. They did however respond quickly when her blood sugar levels dropped to a dangerously low 2.6. It is extremely distressing to go in at visiting time to be told by the patient that they are hungry/thirsty. Catheter put in on arrival in A&E (where excellent care was given) but when we asked when this would be taken out after almost 2 weeks, were told “thought she always had one in”. Was told catheter could be taken out on Wednesday but doctor would need to check, still in on Friday and told it would come out that night. Catheter was eventually taken out early hours of Monday morning. Relative was frequently cold in bed and when she asked for another blanket was told sorry not enough been sent to ward. She had to sleep in her dressing gown to try and keep warm. Personal care was limited. My relative had new toiletries taken in for her on her day of admission. These were left unopened until day of discharge. There was no one particular person responsible for care of relative. Each day when we visited, it was a different member of staff and when you asked for an update, were told, sorry only been looking after relative today. When trying to speak to a doctor, could only speak to a junior doctor. Told diabetes medication re-started one day to be told 2 days later by different staff that they were to be re-started that night. No idea when it was re started. Asked when IV antibiotics were due to finish, but told due to new computer system staff can only see when next dose due not how much longer the course was for. Discharge note was not filled in so when relative returned to care home they did not know what relative had been treated for. GP had to be called out after discharge, again he had incomplete discharge note. Some discharge medication was missing despite being on paperwork. This was to be resolved by APH sending out correct paperwork and medication the following day by taxi. Staff rotation and management procedures appeared to hinder clear communication about progress of ongoing/future treatment. In addition, workload and management demands on dedicated staff meant that focus was on medication, to detriment of patient’s personal needs.