"The fact that my very elderly ..."

About: The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (King's Lynn)

(as the patient),

What I liked

The fact that my very elderly relative was finally found a bed after 5 hours in A & E

What could be improved

I recently attended the A & E department with a very elderly relative who is in her 90's. To say that I was appauled is an understatement. Failures right from the point of entry were sadly evident. Firstly, upon arrival we were told by A & E reception that our relative had not yet arrived. We were somewhat puzzled by this as we had let the ambulance go ahead of us. Luckily after waiting some time the paramedic came into reception and noticed us waiting and advised us that our relative had been in A & E about 1/2 hour!! Apparently, she had not yet been booked in!! After the booking in she was assessed in the corridor. The paramedic had bandaged her arm at home as she had cut it quite badly. Suprisingly the nurse did not examine the arm or the extent of the injury. We were then left in the corridor for some 3 1/2 hours without any attention whatsoever. Given the fact that our relative had gone in with a collapse and very low blood pressure we were worried that she was not checked at all during this time. We stayed with our relative as she is frail and deaf - however, we had to stand next to the trolley as no chair was offered to us. Finally, she was moved to a cubicle to be examined and upon arrival in the cubicle there was a sheet on the bed that was blood stained. Another sheet was placed over this one and our relative was put on a clean sheet on top of the bloody one! By this time our relative was very tired and feeling very dehydrated as she had not eaten since lunchtime. After being in A & E for in excess of 4.5hrs we asked the nurses for a drink for our relative. She said yes and that she would get her colleague to sort this. Some time went by and the drink never came; the original nurse came back and finally a cup of tea was given. No food was offered and we had to go and buy chocolate bars from the machine. Not once was our relative offered the opportunity to go to the toilet.

Anything else?

Also, given the very poor condition of our relative we were suprised that she was left on the trolley for so long. This made her bum very sore and when she got the ward the nurse remarked that her bottom was red and bruised.

Our relative has hardly ever used hospital services in her lifetime being of a generation that does not worry people unless absolutely necessary. Sadly, she has told us since being discharged that she will never enter a hospital again as she could not face the experience again. Why do nurses not communicate more effectively with patients, we were not kept informed whatsoever about waiting times or how long it would be. One thing we did notice was the fact that people with minor injuries were being seen through a separate system and being moved on very quickly. It seems that our relative did not fit any of the criteria to be treated neither swiftly or with diginity. Very sad.

Story from NHS Choices

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