"My 83 year old mother had a fall and..."

What could be improved

My 83 year old mother had a fall and broke her head of femur. Before her fall she was fully mobile and apart from her dementia, fit and able. She had a hemiarthroplasty. It all looked as though it was going well until she started to be moved. First of all she was moved from the orthopaedic ward to a urology ward to make her improvement. This was clearly not helpful as when questioning the nurses about her condition they were able to truthfully say they didn't really know anything about orthopaedics. I would have thought that all aspects of the body formed part of the training but maybe not. When I questioned exactly what procedure my mother had undergone they told me about the hemiarthroplasty but also said she had a fractured tibia!!! Really??? so why wasn't she in plaster as well? Turned out she didn't but these notes were being passed on to whoever came on shidt to assume the title of 'named nurse'. You would have thought that a knowledge of basic anatomy might have suggested there was a mistake in that judgement though wouldn't you? She was discharged after 4 weeks and can hardly walk and is in loads of pain. Most people who have this operation should be walking pain free. Thank goodness she is already in a care Home because if she wasn't before she would be now. Perhaps the NHS would consider payine her fees for increased services in the community? Her GP is now having to deal with this and chances are she will have to have another operation. I am really glad this new government want to look at how well people are when they leave hospital rather than count procedures completed. Quality is the issue here and I am afraid the speed with which she was ejected from the premises in the pain is unacceptable.

Anything else?

What could have been improved? A better operation first an foremost. Failing this, staff attending post op who have something about them. Nurses who know their anatomy, who can see that the patient is struggling and if they are on a urology ward to take the initiative and get someone from othopaedics to advise. To run the check to make sure that excrutiating pain isn't part of a bigger problem and deal with it rather than discharge the patient hoping things will improve. Also, making consultants/doctors available to talk to relatives of patients with dementia at times when the relatives can visit the ward. You have no idea how difficult it is to get information from a confused person. The named nurse thing is a joke as well. They change all the time, are reliant on information being passed on which isn't always done accurately and they don't get to know the patient properly.

Story from NHS Choices

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