"how care in a general medical ward is not "patient centred""

About: Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Glasgow / General medicine

(as a relative),

My father was admitted to hospital with an infection requiring antibiotics. As expected he developed diarrhoea however this was not anticipated, but was established was not treated. He was losing a lot of fluid and electrolytes through his bowels and these were not being replaced with adequate fluids...."just keep drinking water". Is plain water good rehydration therapy? This continued to the point he became unwell with severe dehydration and ended up in HDU.

HDU were excellent and fixed him and he returned to the ward. No lessons were learned and diarrhoea reared its head again (no pun intended) and again despite raising the point again fluids were again not balanced and back down to HDU where it has taken a lot longer for him to recover.

This is just a brief summary of a particular adverse effect of treatment that was easily treatable ie diarrhoea and dehydration. My father has a complex medical history that confounds things but in my opinion, what is lacking on medical wards is basic understanding, anticipation and management of common nursing and medical issues. I often found that in a day my dads intake was non existent, but was their any documentation of his input and output? No. He eventually received I. v. fluids but often these were detached for hours as no one bothered to hook him back on them.

There are a lot more negligent issues that I have been documenting and will formally share with the powers that be. I am from a medical background and horrified at the level of basic care provided. I pity the lay person who puts his/her trust in the nurse and doctor to look after their cared one. I saw no evidence of patient centred care except in HDU.

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Response from Lorna Gray, Patient Experience, Public Involvement Project Manager, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Dear kittens,

I am really sorry to read this and there are a number of points within what you have shared that are concerning to me. I have already sent your post to the management team at the hospital and so we will be able to respond to you more fully as soon as possible, but I thought it was important to acknowledge your posting as quickly as possible to let you know it has been heard.

It would also be really helpful if you or your Dad were able to contact me with a few more details about the ward your Dad was in, and when. Although the issues you have raised here will absolutely be picked up in general terms, a little bit more information would help us to look more closely at the specifics here. You can contact me on lorna.gray@ggc.scot.nhs.uk.

Hopefully will this not only help to put things on a more positive path for you and your Dad, but will ultimately ensure that lessons are learned this time, for your Dad and any other patient like him.

I hope to hear from you soon,

Best Wishes,


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Update posted by kittens (a relative)

My dad is back on the ward (5C) and I am hopeful we will have a more positive experience. He is just out of HDU so not out the woods yet so still requires vigilant care as any laxity could tip him over the edge. The diarrhoea continues and hopefully we can keep on top of the fluid and electrolyte losses.

The staff were pleasant on his arrival to the ward and the registrar gave us an update and assured me that they will pre-empt and be vigilant with any deterioration.

The staff were catching up with their handover from HDU about my dads rocky road the past few days. However, later on most staff (nursing and medical) did not inspire confidence as they seemed to have no idea what had happened to my dad and how sick he was in the preceding 2 weeks. Surely, you need to know the patients you look after? Other areas are physiotherapy for mobility and tissue viability for his bed sores need addressed which he was getting in HDU but staff on ward did not appear to know about this. Before this hospital admission my dad was fairly independent and did his own care.

I'm going to remain hopeful but have been dreading him going back to the ward as it is the other extreme of HDU in terms of care, there seems to be no in between. Will see what happens.