"A review of Durrant ward"

About: Chesterfield Royal Hospital

My grandmother was admitted to Durrant ward on 28th April until the 5th of May due to pneumonia, she also has advanced Alzheimer’s. Although some of the care that she received appeared to be of good standard there were a number of negative factors that stood out to us as a family, and myself as a fellow nurse.

Due to malnutrition my Nan was supposed to be on a nutritional support diet, however each tea time- when we visited to help her eat to take pressure off of the nursing staff, she was served with a jacket potato and salad- this is not nutritional support. However I fully understand why she continued to order this for her dinner- the Jacket potato option is last on the menu, therefore when someone reads this out to her, this is the only thing that she remembers- this is a known fact in Alzheimer’s.

Secondly, I am unsure how my grandmother was supposed to adequately eat when her dentures were beyond filthy. As this basic nursing care, I turned a blind eye to this- thinking that her teeth would be getting cleansed every day, until one day when I arrived on the ward to discover that she could barely speak- as though she has something in her mouth. I took it upon myself to clean her dentures and I could not believe the state of them, days worth of food, bread stuck to the top pallet, food debris in the part that fixes to her gums. Her mouth was so sore that she yelped when I helped her remove them. They were causing oral candida- which is excellent when you are trying to get as much food into a patient as possible. There was no evidence of a toothbrush or any denture cleaning paste- however the nurse kindly gave a toothbrush and toothpaste.

Another point that I have to make is that she slipped out of her chair one morning, the nurse informed my mum when she got onto the ward, and advised her that no injuries were obtained- which we are thankful for that transparency. However the next day, she was in the chair again, on the verge of slipping out, her bottom was right to the edge- she was also asleep and not wearing any slippers- making her more at risk of this happening again. What astounded me is the fact that she was in bay 1- opposite the nurses station, however no one repositioned her safely!

Finally, the biggest point I have to make- communication. There was only one occasion where we thought that communication was adequate, that was from a nurse who worked on Saturday 30th April, we are thankful for the information that they gave. Other than that, we were told nothing. We were not approached by any of the nursing/medical/support staff. My Nan has Alzheimer- she is deemed to have no mental capacity, she is unable to retain any information. Therefore, why were we, as her next of kin, told nothing?

There were also staff in white tunics who had no name badges, or a NHS lanyard with ID card- who were they? ‘Hello my name is…’ campaign springs to mind.

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Response from Chesterfield Royal Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to provide us with this incredibly honest reflection of your grandmother's time in our hospital. The points you raise make difficult reading and I'm sorry that you have had such a disappointing experience for a loved one. I'm not a clinician at the hospital, but I'm sure my nursing colleagues would want to talk to you about your post and the care you observed. Would you be able to email me your details and your grandmother's? I know we can't change what happened on this ocassion but we can listen, learn and improve. I hope to hear from you soon. With kind regards Sarah Turner-Saint head of communications Sarah.turner-saint@nhs.net

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