"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.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››