"The deputy sister of the ward ..."

About: Colchester General Hospital

(as a relative),

What I liked

The deputy sister of the ward - she was a carer of a relative and actually understood what it means to care for someone.

What could be improved

My mother, for whom I am a deputy as she has dementia was an inpatient for two weeks. In this time, she lost 4 kg in weight. I left a care plan with the nursing team to explain that they would need to monitor her food and fluid intake and support her needs. Nurses did not, they did not even check that she had swallowed her medication. I saw this happen. They were too busy. I asked at the end of my mother's stay that she should undergo a continuing care assessment. I was told that the social worker would contact me - she did not. I had to request the continuing care assessment again in December and I am still awaiting it. Furthermore, it was stated in my mother's care plan on leaving hospital that she should see her consultant neurologist after 2 weeks - we are not going to see him until the end of January - over 9 weeks since her departure from the hospital. I note furthermore, that often meals and water were put out of reach of my mother by meal delievery staff - probably the most basic error any staff member can make particularly since my mother was recovering from newly onset epilepsy and had issues holding a spoon and swallowing.

Anything else?

If you want to improve the care of dementia patients going into hospital you should allow their families to stay with them all the time (rather than having visiting hours). Secondly, all staff should be trained to deal with dementia and should talk to the family before they begin to care for the patient. You should at the very least have a form that family can fill out that explains what abilities the sufferer has. Dementia sufferers have very different symptoms - staff should not think they all have exactly the same issues, not all are immobile or aggressive for example. The prejudice and lack of common sense was quite obvious and certainly went against my mother's human rights to be treated as an individual and in a dignified manner.

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Responses

Response from Colchester General Hospital

I am very sorry to read of the poor patient experience you had. I have discussed your comments with Julie Firth, Director of Nursing & Patient Experience, and she would urge you to contact her either by phone (01206 742842) or by email info@colchesterhospital.nhs.uk

At the Trust we have matrons on duty 24 hours per day. If you have a concern about nursing care received or are concerned about what you should do after being in hospital please contact one of the matrons by visiting our website:

http://www.colchesterhospital.nhs.uk/matron_structure.shtml

We have a Patient Advice & Liaison Service (PALS), viewable here:

http://www.colchesterhospital.nhs.uk/pals.shtml

Alternatively, we have complaints process which is outlined here:

http://www.colchesterhospital.nhs.uk/complaints.shtml

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Paul Searle, Head of Communications

Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust

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Colchester General Hospital | Trust HQ | Turner Road | Colchester | Essex | CO4 5JL

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tel: 01206 742348 | email: paul.searle@colchesterhospital.nhs.uk

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