"She should have been transferred to palliative care"

About: St Andrews Community Hospital Victoria Hospital / General Medicine

(as a staff member posting for a patient/service user),

My wife died 2 ½ years ago with lung cancer but was in a stroke ward at the Victoria for 4 months and should not have been. She should have been transferred to palliative care.

She did not get the treatment she needed but also this was not fair on the nurses as they were not trained to care for patients with terminal cancer.

When she was transferred to St Andrews the palliative care was great.

I think the NHS are wonderful and what happened with my wife is now history. I don’t want apologies but would like to know that a terminally ill patient will not spend 4 months on a stroke ward again.

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Response from Louise Ewing, Patient Relations Manager, NHS Fife We have made a change

picture of Louise Ewing

Dear john13

Thank you for sharing your experience. I was sorry to hear about your wife and offer my sincere condolences on your loss. Clearly this issue continues to trouble you and I felt it was important to seek a more specific response to your post.

Mrs K Brechin Head of Nursing with a remit for Quality responded as follows -

"I am sorry we did not provide the most appropriate palliative care for your wife when she was being cared for at the Victoria Hospital. It is difficult for me to offer any specific response about your wife’s care without further information; however I can hopefully offer reassurance to you and describe the supportive palliative care in place across all our services.

Each person’s palliative and end of life care should be planned individually, considering their care needs and reflecting their choice about where they would choose to be cared for and their preferred place of death. These are conversations we encourage before a person declines so we can ensure plans are in place to help guide us as care providers to offer the right care in the right place and the right time. Having these conversations when a person is admitted to hospital unexpectedly can be difficult due to the individual clinical situation and reason for admission, as well as the emotions and distress when a person moves toward end of life care.

To help with this communication across the community and hospital services we have a new electronic communication system in place linking the GPs in the community and acute care providers, to improve our communication and make sure discussions with patients and their carer’s are shared, and inform our practice and care planning.

Within NHS Fife we are committed to providing quality palliative and end of life care, and have provision of specialist palliative care beds, community hospital beds and an outreach specialist service to support care for patients if it is more appropriate for care to be provided in the acute care environment".

I have also received a response from Ms M McDonald, Lead Cancer Nurse who would like to invite you to meet to discuss ways in which your experience might be shared, with a view to learning from it. Ms McDonald has also made reference to an initiative called, Best Supportive Care for Patients with Lung Cancer. Ms McDonald explains that, "The overall aim of this project is for patients with advanced lung cancer and their families to play a more active role in their care, to feel more supported and to ensure that more of their care will be provided in a timely manner in the community rather than in acute hospitals or in secondary care clinics.

This will be facilitated by redesigning and expanding palliative care services for patients with advanced lung cancer to be more proactive and also responsive when problems arise and by improved care coordination between different service providers, including social work and the third sector".

We realise this does not adequately respond to your own personal situation but hopefully reassures you that we have developed supportive palliative care for people, and this will continue to be a priority for us within NHS Fife. if you would like to take up the offer of meeting with Ms McDonald please contact me in the first instance and I will establish the contact.

Thank you once again for taking the time to post


Louise Ewing

01592 648069


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