"Dreadful communication when my mother died"

About: Darent Valley Hospital / Accident and emergency Darent Valley Hospital / Older people's healthcare

(as a relative),

My elderly 86 year old mum was left in A&E cubicle short stay for 3 days following a fall (where one of the nurses was so rude) before being transferred to Clinical Decisions Unit who rang us at 4am in the morning to ask us to attend the nurses desk later that morning.

We assumed my mum had passed away in the night but when we went to the nurses desk the next morning, it was just to update us on her poor condition. Why did they need to ring us at 4am in the middle of the night just to frighten the hell out of us?

Following dire treatment (which I won't go into here, neglect, mixed messages from different nurses and being moved to three different wards in a week and a half and ending up on Juniper Ward (a male surgical ward), with dreadful communication, my 86 old mother passed away suddenly and unexpectedly whilst her family were with her.

I rushed out to get a doctor on Juniper Ward and a lady in plain clothes and a surgical doctors in blue scrubs rushed in, checked my mother, said absolutely nothing and both rushed out again. We assumed they would be alerting the nursing staff.

We sat there for 20 minutes with my deceased mum in her room expecting someone to come in and certify the death and console us. Eventually a consultant appeared with two junior doctors, he asked us to accompany to him to a quiet room. "Quiet" as in nursing staff coming in and out to get their refreshments!

He started speaking, saying: "I just wanted to speak to you all and let you know where we are with your mothers' care and what we plan to do next."

My husband shouted "I think you are missing something here; she passed away 20 minutes ago". The consultant was shocked and one of the Junior Doctors went with my husband to certify my mums' death. We were appalled. A tragic, upsetting situation made much worse by dreadful communication.

The two members of staff were summoned to explain their actions and why they had not alerted nursing staff. My mum's nurse Emelda was lovely and starting crying and saying sorry and hugging us. She couldn't believe it either. This was just one incident in a week and a half's tragic catalogue of events my mum experienced which ended in her death and even that was handled insensitively, inhumanely and without any compassion as you can see from the details above.

I will be pursuing a full complaint with the trust.

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Responses

Response from Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust

Dear Ms Lomas

We were extremely concerned to read of your family's experiences at Darent Valley Hospital and would like to discuss with you further the issues you have raised. Please would you be kind enough to contact us, at your earliest convenience on 01322 428436 or via email at complaints@dvh.nhs.uk.

Please accept our sincere consoldences and apology at this very sad time for all.

Kind regards

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Response from Darent Valley Hospital

Dear Ms Lomas We were extremely concerned to read of your family's experiences at Darent Valley Hospital and would like to discuss with you further the issues you have raised. Please would you be kind enough to contact us, at your earliest convenience on 01322 428436 or via email at complaints@dvh.nhs.uk. Please accept our sincere consoldences and apology at this very sad time for all. Kind regards The Communications Team Darent Valley Hospital

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