"Mixed experience at UCH, nurses need more training"

About: University College Hospital

My mother was admitted to UCH after a brain hemhorrage. The care in the acute phase was good in terms of keeping her alive. Plus we'd been to St Mary's Paddington A&E where she had been misdiagnosed and discharged at 80 years old with a bump on the head and as we later found out a pelvis fractured in three places. So UCH did better in terms of head scans, stabilising her after several seizures and so on. Where they let themselves down hugely was the nursing care apart from one notable exception who was excellent and played a huge part in keeping my mother and us sane. The rest of the nurses belittled her, talked loudly all the time, didn't speak good English, didn't respond to call button for six hour stretches at night. The noise they made all night, every night so my mother barely slept in days was shameful. She had agonising pelvic pain but it took five days for the dr to order the mri to show the fractures. In the meantime she was sent student physios to mobilise her - luckily she refused! When she suddenly lost the ability to speak due to head injury which frightened the life out of us the nursing sister was rude to me saying 'stop speaking to me and let me do my job'. We weren't able to speak to a neurologist the whole time we were there - they just kept sending her head scans to the neuro team at the royal London hospital and we were left in the care of the geriatric team who gave us very few answers - stock line 'that's not my area of specialisation'. One particular nurse kept us sane throughout this ordeal. They gave us excellent care, was quiet, diligent, did whatever they could to get us info we were not getting elsewhere, remained calm when my mother became agitated and distressed from no sleep (other nurses argued with her or ignored her). I cannot praise this nurse enough and think they should train all the other nurses. Bad English was a real problem for the nurses - they didn't understand what we were staying and were rude and defensive in their response. We managed to move her to private hospital before the weekend and I honestly think if she had to stay the weekend at UCH she might not have survived due to the stress being caused. I write this so that more training can be given to the nurses - one to stop talking and making so much noise at night, it's so awful for the patients and harms their health, two to be a lot kinder to the patients, treat them like your own parents, and three brush up on your English so that you don't harm the patient. Having said all this it was a damn sight better than St Mary's which nearly killed her through misdiagnosis.

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Response from University College Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to feed back to us. We are very sorry to hear about your recent experience of Geriatric Medicine at UCLH. We would be grateful if you could contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) via pals@uclh.nhs.uk or by calling 020 3447 3042 so that we can look into this.

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