"My beloved uncle's deteriorating condition"

About: Drumchapel Hospital / Geriatric Assessment

(as a carer),

My 90yr old uncle was transferred to Drumchapel hospital from Gartnavel. I have cared for him for over7 yrs. He had a recent history of falls and ischaemia of his left foot. On transfer he was eating independently, he was lucid and mobilising with a zimmer. He was transferred on a Thursday after 8pm. Far too late for transfer of an elderly patient

From then on his condition deteriorated dramatically. He was never allowed out of bed, his pain control was mismanaged and I had to watch the slow and painful death of my uncle.

I had to ask repeatedly for mouth care to be carried out. His mouth was filthy and bone dry. He never had water by his bedside. All the patients were fed in bed therefore all were likely to develop aspiration pneumonia. I never saw anyone given any rehab.

When my Uncle arrived on the ward he said to me 'is this a dying ward?' Three days before his death I insisted he had a syringe driver as he was in so much pain. After this the nurses were very attentive.

However immediate action needs to be taken to improve the care, leadership is weak. I heard one sister shouting to the HCA, ' shut that door he is doing my head in'. She was referring to an elderly patient who was shouting due to dementia, he was in a side room.

I also went in one day to find my uncle climbing out of bed, in a state of undress with no covers and extremely distressed in full view of the nursing staff who were all on their mobile phones. I did get an apology from the ward sister who stated that I had just come in at the wrong time! Another day I was looking for a nurse but couldn't find anyone in the male or female ward. As I walked out I found them all in the coffee room outside the ward, this included Senior Nurses.

There is also a lack of clinicians: the Consultant only visits once a week and there seemed to be no medical staff at the weekend.

I will ensure that my parents are not admitted to this hospital. This does not reflect the Scottish Governments' patient-centred policies.

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Responses

Response from Niall McGrogan, Head of Patient Experience and Public Involvement, I work for Dr Margaret Maguire, the Director of Nursing, here at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde

Dear Julie1993

I was appalled to read your account of how your 90 year old uncle was treated whilst in our care. I know that nothing I can say here will undo what has happened. At this point I can only let you know how sorry I am. I also want to offer you my heartfelt sympathy for your loss.

There are so many distressing aspects in your account, any one of which would be contrary to how we would want any of our patients to be treated. That there seems to have been so many failures in basic care and respect for your uncle is truly awful. I cannot easily understand what he must have thought and felt to have asked you, “ is this a dying ward?” Nor can I comprehend how you must have felt hearing this from someone you so obviously love.

I can only assure you that the care you witnessed runs contrary to the beliefs and values of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and represents the antithesis of person centred care. As an organisation, we would like to understand every aspect of your uncle’s care in detail. We are determined to learn when things go wrong and ensure that each one of our patients gets the best medical treatment and care and is treated with the utmost dignity and respect. This is the right of every patient in NHS Scotland.

I would be most grateful, if now or at a time appropriate to you, you would consider helping us learn from this awful experience. One way of doing this would be to use the formal complaints process. That way we could obtain more detailed information from you on your late uncle and dates when specific events happened. That would then allow us to fully investigate your issues with the staff involved. There is good support available from independent agencies should it be needed. Perhaps as a first step, you might consider talking to or contacting me or my colleague Marie Farrell, the Director with responsibilities for Drumchapel Hospital. I can be contacted on niall.mcgrogan@ggc.scot.nhs.uk and Marie on marie.farrell@ggc.scot.nhs.uk

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Niall Mc Grogan

Head of Patient Experience, Public Involvement

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Response from Niall McGrogan, Head of Patient Experience and Public Involvement, I work for Dr Margaret Maguire, the Director of Nursing, here at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde We are preparing to make a change

Dear Julie1993

I am just posting a note to share with the readers of Patient Opinion what has happened since your original posting and my response.

I very much want to thank you for contact me and agreeing to meet with me and the Lead Nurse for Drumchapel, Ellen McGimpsey. We both wanted to express our thanks to you for the way you shared your time, thoughts and feelings. In particular, we very much appreciate your request that we use your experiences not to blame or punish but to help make improvements.

We wrote these experiences up as A Patients Story and this will be used with the staff concerned to to encourage reflection on what happened and how you felt. The lessons that can be learned will be documented and reviewed. Professor Rosslyn Crockett, the Director of Nursing, here at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has also today received a copy of your story.

I will come back to Patient Opinion and your posting in 12 weeks time with an update on how your story has been used.

In the meantime, thank you for your generosity of thought and in deed.

Best wishes, Niall Mc Grogan

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