"The nurses were friendly, approachable ..."

About: Eastbourne District General Hospital

(as a relative),

What I liked

The nurses were friendly, approachable and working hard. Nurses did their best to make us comfortable on our chairs during our 2 day 2 night continuous vigil! thank you for the Tea on the ward.There were some nurses who tried to care and did their best within the system, showing great kindness, they know who they are and to them I thank. After my mother in law had died the bereavement service lady was very quick and efficient with practical help but also did not rush us. Leaving your body to science has to be done in a particular way and again has consequences for the family with regard to closure as there is no funeral as such.

What could be improved

II was never introduced to the Consultant heading the team for my mother-in-law. Quicker realisation of the families recognition that she was going to die and that we were "camping" by her bed. the Liverpool scheme or whatever it was called was not offered until the last moments.Not that we wanted to leave her. Nurses seem to not be experienced in Palliative care. Teams changing old ladies in the middle of the night in the dark should not be two men. People should not be allowed to die on a wardif possible to avoid. It was not nice for other sick people on the ward to have the drama of a an obvious death with all the familty etc acted out before them. Why is there no canteen through the night for workers and families? Thankfully the nurse kindly let me have tea from the trolly, Doctors - what Doctors?

Anything else?

I write now that I have calmed down and had time to think. I live in London and travelled every day for the week my mother in law was admitted as an emergency. I found her unconscious at home. She knew she had lung cancer, she had chosen no treatment. She had a living will and instructions for her body to be donated to science. Every day I asked for her to go the hospice which is where she had planned for the last 3 years as an outpatient to end her time. I was told she was too ill! The fight we had to get adequate pain prevention was shameful. If it is "not written up" then someone should be available to write up more. We knew she was going to die, she knew she was going to die, but just wanted it to be pain free. The staff on the whole carried on as if she was going to get better and seemed unable to recognise the inevitable and change their tone and planning accordingly. I am very upset to imagine what would have happened if I had not been there to fight her corner. There were no single rooms for her to be taken to during the very slow and painful last 48 hours. I was very conscious of the other patients on the ward and how they shouldn't be witnessing and hearing this. She was on an end bed by the corridor with men and women passing up and down and in and out the opposite loos. If patients are being left "free" of underwear or pads etc (not sure for whose benefit) then more effort should be made to protect dignity and privacy. I saw far more than I wanted, or needed to, that week, the trauma of our family member in discomfort and pain and dieing was enough. I unfortunately have also had to be a 'death partner' for my sister-in-law who was 'lucky' to die in the local Hospice in Weybridge. The experience was totally different for all of us. Sad though it was. It should not be down to 'luck' and where we live in the country as to how we die, we all know death happens and we should be more prepared, human and caring.

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Response from Eastbourne District General Hospital

Thank you for your comments. Please contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service on (01323) 417400, if you would like to speak to someone about the issues you have raised.