"Light wards. Good discharge sister."

About: Queen's Hospital (Romford)

(as a relative),

What I liked

Light wards. Good discharge sister.

What could be improved

All nursing staff and doctors need to listen very carefully to visitor's important comments regarding a dementia patient's ability, awareness and need for polite, respectful treatment. Our frind and teaching colleague had a great deal of remaining intelligence despite his confusion. Although he walked into the hospital when ill, he had always eaten well and enjoyed his meals and was continent, yet within a few days he was on a totally liquid diet (having refused intubation) and kept in bed in continence pads, despite asking for the toilet. Admittedly he did develop pneumonia in the first few days and was gravely ill for about a fornight, but pulled through and then, when we repeatedly told nursing staff (and asked that this be recorded in his notes) that he was definitely able to walk and eat properly, he was kept in bed and not allowed up for the rest of his 10 week stay.

He became a very weak and extremely thin man and lost the independence he had fought so hard to maintain throughout recent years of treatment for Parkinson's and dementia. All of the many friends who visited him were shocked to see his state.

We were amazed to see all that we had told the hospital was proved true, when he was eventually placed in a care home and within a few days was walking out into the corridor and very soon around the whole floor. He began eating whole meals again, coping with the tools on his own, but now has diffivulty with continence, after 10 weeks in pads in hospital.

This MUST be checked. We had to request ward meetings to get any attention paid to what we were saying to the staff, who may well be overworked. Most were very pleasant but had no real connection with the patients and didn't seem trained in dementia care at all. Meals and drinks were dumped on tables out of reach. One nurse, when I said that X was asking to be taken to the toilet, said loudly in front of him and the ward that he couldn't and had 'a nappy on' anyway. Humiliating.

Anything else?

Another nurse said that not even two nurses together could get him to the toilet, a few feet away in the ward, yet within a couple of days in the care home he was able to walk along a corridor on his own. Why?

Story from NHS Choices

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