"Grandad's long stay on Creedy ward"

About: Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital (Wonford)

(as a relative),

My grandfather was hospitalised following a fall. He hadn't been enjoying good health: having Parkinson's and requiring dialysis several times a week in hospital. It later transpired that he had an infection which had likely caused him to fall. Infections were quite a common occurrence as he had his spleen removed some years previously so no-one was really that concerned. What was initially expected to be a brief stay on Creedy ward with some IV antibiotics ended up being a long and draining stay over several weeks. I have to say that the care from the nurses in, what seemed to me, a bit of a futile battle, was exemplary. A nurse who I think was called Pippa (but I can't quite be sure) was a particular favourite with the whole family; I can't thank her enough for the care and competence she showed.

After a time, it was decided to stop dialysis and move my grandad to a care home to live out his final weeks. A devastating time, but a he died peacefully in a quiet, private room rather than in the bustle of the hospital ward.

Although I'm incredibly grateful and happy with the care, there were a few things that could have made a big difference:

- my grandad developed bed sores and despite numerous requests no air mattress could be located to help relieve this. We would have paid if it were an issue of cost.

- he had a narrowing in his throat which made swallowing medication difficult. Some nurses allowed him to have his medication crushed up in yoghurt but others didn't

- his discharge was delayed while funding was arranged (I don't know the details here as obviously not my business). I do know that my grandmother did offer to pay to get him out earlier but that wasn't taken up

- communication was quite poor at times. Particularly at the height of the infection, my grandad wasn't able to understand/repeat what he was being told. At least playing 'what's that dressing from' was a fun diversion when visiting

- car park. £2. 50 a pop for 2 hours or £4. 50 a pop for 4 doesn't sound like much but it really adds up: 2 visits a day for 6 weeks is over £200 if you keep it to 2 hour visits. I wish public transport were an option but it just isn't when you're not in Exeter. Some sort of concession for 'repeat customers' would have been well received

Finally, being told a loved one is going to die is a horrible experience but it is *infinitely* preferable to false hope and euphemism. Real compassion is having the guts to say the truth.

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Responses

Response from Patient Experience Lead, Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust

Please accept our condolences at this time. Thank you for your comments which have been passed on to the staff to ensure we continuously aim to improve the experience for both our patients and their family. If you would like to discuss any of the issues you have highlighted in more detail please contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on 01392 402093 and we will be happy to investigate these further for you.