"My Dad's end of life care in Hospital"

About: Crosshouse Hospital / General Medicine

(as a relative),

As an former NHS employee I am reluctant to complain, however the events of my dad's end of life care was so shocking that it has taken me 2 years to even speak about it. The most significant feeling is guilt, I let my dad down when he needed me most.

My father suffered a heart attack and a mini stroke, over the next few months we tried to care for him at home but with increasing dementia and a few serious falls, we put dad in the care of a local nursing home. No complaints at all for the wonderful care he received there.

However, he suffered another stroke and was admitted to hospital. The stroke had robbed him of his speech but he still knew us, still responded by gestures. The doctor told us he would be unable to swallow and had pneumonia and told us he was be put on a End Of Life Care Plan and would probably only survive 2-3 days.

By the 5th day we questioned the diagnosis and dad was bright and alert, had no trouble swallowing, no breathing problems. The doctor then told us that actually he didn't have pneumonia. The doctors never came to consult with us, in fact, although we were by dad's bedside 24/7, even the nurses never spoke, they attended to his drip etc and never utter a word, either to us, or to dad.

To cut the story short - it took dad 14 days to die and I truly believe he was basically starved to death. We trusted that the medical team knew what was best but on hindsight, I firmly believe they didn't, they went down a route and we went along with it.

I know I was in shock at the time and not thinking straight and I shall never forgive myself for not fighting for my dad.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››

Responses

Response from Eunice Goodwin, Patient Feedback Manager for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Quality Improvement and Governance Team, NHS Ayrshire and Arran

picture of Eunice Goodwin

Dear Guilt,

I have read and re-read your story, it is a sad and difficult read, and it must have been such a hard time for you all. End-of-life care is such an important part of the care we provide. We only get one chance at it and it should have been the best possible experience for both your father and your family and I am so sorry you did not feel this about your father’s last days. We only have one Dad and we always want the best for them.

I don't know if the care your father got could have been different or better but we can look into this if you would like us to. It is disappointing that the staff were not as supportive of you and your family as you all needed. I know a lot of work has been ongoing to improve end-of-life care, so I sincerely hope that your experience is not the way it is now.

I am sure you have nothing to reproach yourself for and I hope you can stop punishing yourself; we can’t change the past but we can change the way we view it. At the time, you did what you felt was right and it may well have been exactly right but let us get you some answers, it may help you to move forward with less guilt

I will pass your story on to the Manager’s careful consideration, but please get in touch and let us look into this for you.

If you wish to let me know some details e.g. your father’s name and date of birth, the team will be able to look into this further for you. If you do want to contact me, you can email me on eunice.goodwin@aapct.scot.nhs.uk or phone me on 01563 826222.

Kindest regards,

Eunice

  • {{helpful}} of {{total()}} people think this response is helpful

Response from Eunice Goodwin, Patient Feedback Manager for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Quality Improvement and Governance Team, NHS Ayrshire and Arran

picture of Eunice Goodwin

Dear Guilt,

I passed this post to the managers as I promised and they too felt that they would like to look into this for you. If you would like us to do this, you can contact me at eunice.goodwin@aapct.scot.nhs.uk or phone me on 01563 826222. If you would rather go down the complaint route, you can call 0800 1691441. Whether you do or do not want to take this further is entirely your choice of course and we obviously respect that.

Best wishes,

Eunice

  • {{helpful}} of {{total()}} people think this response is helpful