"Ambulance trip of elderly mother to Aand E"

About: Dorset County Hospital

Ambulance arrived quickly and paramedics were efficient. Mum, 93 seen straight away by nurse and doctor, although as I wasn't allowed in with her, did not know that she was being seen until I enquired some 20 minutes later. As mum has dementia I don't know what information they obtained from her. Was eventually told that she would have blood tests and an x ray which was good. She had been given some pain relief,which was also good. She was very frightened by her lack of breathe all night. She said that she woke up several times in the night, unable to breathe. The doctor insisted that it was anxiety, how can she be anxious while she is asleep? I felt that the doctor did nothing to reassure, in fact I did not see the doctor talk to my mum at all, just me. This was a Sunday morning around 8 am, nurses seemed very busy and did not stop or converse at all. They did not look in the room going past nor did they smile at all. The friendliest person was the cleaner, who was lovely. Didn't know the doctors name, they did not introduce themself. The doctor spent some time with us, but as their allocated 4 hours came up, the doctor was off to someone else, understandably I suppose. I wanted my ill, confused and in seriously in pain mother admitted but the doctor refused and gave me the reasons, all the while mum was crying and saying she could not go home as she could not cope alone. The doctor still did not ever speak to her to reassure her. I understood the reasons but the doctor's beside manner needs serious improvement. She was moved to an observation ward ready to go home. The nurses there were lovely. Mum lives on the second floor and there is no lift. I asked for someone to get her home up the stairs, it seems that the doctor felt either I could get her up, I am 68, or she could make it herself!! The doctor asked if I was refusing to take her home, I said, no, but she had to have some help as she wouldn't make the stairs. However, two ambulance crew arrived and got her home safely. She is still in serious pain and the offered no other pain relief apart from paracetamol, which does not touch the pain.

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Response from Dorset County Hospital

Dear Mrs Cook, I am so very sorry to read of you and your mothers recent experience, this is not how I would want any patient using our services to feel. I can fully understand how frightening and disorientating it must have been for your mother and I am truly sorry that the interactions you had with some of our staff were unhelpful. I expect every member of staff to introduce themselves to patients and relatives and I am sorry this was not your experience. I was however pleased to read that the nurses on the assessment unit were lovely. I would like to be able to investigate further and find out what went wrong and how we can learn from your experience. If you feel able to share your experiences in more detail with us I would be grateful if you could contact our PALS service on 0800 7838058 or pals@dchft.nhs.uk. Once again, I sincerely apologises for the negative experiences you and your mother ha whilst in our care Best wishes, Alison Tong, Director of Nursing, Dorset County Hospital

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