"Rehabilitation care following surgery on..."
About: Potters Bar Community Hospital Potters Bar Community Hospital EN6 2RY
Posted by Jim Hill
The hospital has a high proportion of elderly in-patients, many of whom have dementia issues or are confused, and it feels like being in a care home. I felt that I was treated as if I had those problems, which I did not! "One size does not fit all". The staff are hard-pressed to cope with such a large number of difficult patients and are not very empathetic compared with experience at the Royal Free following the reconstruction surgery. On several occasions I was spoken to in an abrupt manner by nursing staff, including in front of a friend who was visiting, who expressed concern at the conduct evident. I was not treated with sufficient dignity or respect by several nursing staff for much of my stay. However, both Doctors serving the ward were excellent. I also had to share a room, despite there being several empty rooms, with another lady for a while who had disruptive dementia and kept calling for help from me and anyone who would listen 24/7. She also seemed to have a chronic chest infection and my husband demanded that either she or I be moved so that I did not catch it from her in my weakened state of health. I was moved the next day to another room as a result. The patient experience was one of being processed rather than being cared for. I needed extensive physiotherapy but received minimal help, as resources were stretched. The occupational therapist also added to my despondency by making recommendations for adaptations that they considered necessary for my home, most of which proved unnecessary. After 3 weeks I was still restricted to supervised walking with a Zimmer frame. My husband arranged for 5 days private physio rehab care at another hospital at the end of which I was walking again with the aid of a single stick and my confidence restored that I would make a full recovery, which is proving to be the case so far. Food quality was acceptable, but often served cold. There was unnecessary pressure to eat with all the other patients in the communal dining area, which I refused as did others because of the depressing condition of many of the other patients, and the similarity to a care home, which would not have been uplifting as part of my care. Whilst the rooms in which I was located were clean, the toilets were often in a poor state and unclean, and I often had to use the men's facilities which were even worse. There is an urgent need for a higher level of cleanliness, however unpopular the cleaning task might be.