"The equipment needs updating, please"

About: Diana, Princess Of Wales Hospital / Accident and emergency

(as a relative),

My mum had many falls while in a local nursing home, because she was left to transfer by herself from armchair to commode during the day and evening. I got a call in the middle of the night to say she'd had a fall and had been taken to the local hospital. As I live alone and don't have a car I had to get a taxi. My mum was left in A&E for several hours due to lack of beds due to seasonal respiratory complaints.

Having had three strokes and rheumatoid arthiritis mum was not able to walk apart from a few small steps. Mum needed to use the toilet so the staff on duty were able, with my help, to get her off the stretcher bed into a wheelchair. Her pain was very bad and she was a tough old lass. It was not possible for staff to take her to a proper toilet, so we had to put her through the ordeal of transferring her to a mobile commode, then back to the wheelchair. This we had to do a few times with mum in pain.

When a bed was available, mum was not transferred to a stretcher bed again, but the porter on duty said she would have to get into an obselete porter's chair or he wouldn't push her to the ward. I had my right leg in plaster at the time, but offered to push her to the ward myself. The staff nurse could see I wasn't pleased with the porter, so sh said 'Let's forget that you have to use old, out-of-date, not fit for purpose chairs, and get on with the job', to stop the porter from walking out as only two were on duty that night.

The equipment needs updating please, if not now done. Also the staff we saw in A&E were brilliant, so well done to them for coping as best as possible. Thank you for your help, it may help others. The fall caused a death because mum layed flat and couldn't breathe properly and so was in great pain. She was a kind person and I believe that all the poor treatment in nursing homes due to lack of staff to provide care to a high standard made her life miserable in her twilight years. All the times paramedics got called out to pick her up and treat her because she was left to transfer from chair to commode on her own.

PS There was only one porter on duty the day I broke my foot. My pal had to push me about for ages while I got x-rayed and set in plaster.

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Response from Penny Burton, Healthier Communities and LINk Programme Manager, North East Lincolnshire LINk We are preparing to make a change

Hello, my name is Penny, please accept my condolances for the loss of your mum. I have repsonded to your opinion as it raised concerns regarding nursing homes. I am from the North East Lincolnshire LINk. LINks are the independent services that provides the opportunity for individuals, the community and organisations to influence local health and social care services. If you would be interested, LINk are currently undertaking a large piece of work around privacy and dignity, and staffing numbers in care homes within North East Lincolnshire. We would love to hear your experience, and if you wished there would be an opportunity to become more involved in this work stream, or we could let you know the outcome. Our telephone number is 01472 - 315437 or our website is www.nellink.org.uk if you would like to know more about LINk. Kind regards, Penny
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Update posted by maestro664 (a relative)

Dear Penny,

Thank you for your prompt reply and your offer to join LINk and the information on you current work regarding "Dignity and care in Nursing Homes". I think it needs to be done and in all areas of this country. I am sure that the local hospital is too busy to reply at the moment but I do HOPE they will as it concerns their equipment i.e. porter’s chairs and the attitude of some of their staff.

Although may I say again most of their staff in A&E are very good and helpful. As for no reply from those who have to make a record of falls leading to death, I do hope they will follow this through to source of the accident. That being in this case a residential home which has people who need nursing care within it! I think this needs to be looked at by the local social services or local authority. Or is that due to an oversight in admin or just looking at the finances available for the care of our elderly? So thank you once again for your reply and I will be contacting you.