"The nurses were pleasant and tried their..."

About: Watford General Hospital

What I liked

The nurses were pleasant and tried their best under trying circumstances.

What could be improved

While my mother was staying on Sarratt ward, unfortunately a lady patient staying in the same bay was obviously mentally ill and could not help her behaviour, but this did not excuse the effect she had on the other patients who had to endure, day and night her disruptive and abusive behaviour.

She was never quiet and continiously invaded the privacy of the other patients, who were unable to protect themselves and vulnerable. While visiting my mother I took the brunt of this ladies actions when she pushed and pulled me from behind ripping my blouse in the process at this point my mother was terrified, so I had her moved to the other side of the bay. The next day I tried to find a peaceful area to sit or walk around, some kind of space that didnt remind you of Hospital to help my mum escape for a while. The only place was the cafe, not great. On return to the ward, bay 1 only was in caos, vulnerable patients were in tears. One patient was completely uncovered, exposing her dignity, calling out and crying to be covered, which I did. Meanwhile the patient in the next bed who had the curtains round the bed in an attempt to have some privacy whilst using the commode was invaded by the terrorising patient who proceeded to take down her knickers, saying she needed the toilet.

This is just a snap shot of this ladies behaviour. Nurses have also had to endure this patients aggresive behaviour, it is not acceptable or right.

I am aware that this unfortunate lady is also vulnerable and needs care, but special provision needs to be made for patients like these, with adequate staffing levels to offer them the attention and care they require. The nurses were grossly understaffed, two nurses for a ward of 30 patients, how ridiculouse in any circumstance, but on a ward of such vulnerable patients is shameful.

Anything else?

The general appearance of Sarratt ward is like going back in time. Quite a shock after spending time in the admission unit.

Their is not enough room between beds, which challanges patient dignity and privacy. If a patient was to become ill with Cdiff or MRSA for example and a side room was not available how would you deal with this on ward with beds so closely packed together, an infection control issue.

Their is no provision for psychological needs of patients. No stimulation for patients or peace, no escape from illness, not condusive to speedy recovery, just endurance.

If you had a choice, would you choose to go to Watford General Hospital and stay on Sarratt ward? The answer is no.

The very least a patient should expect from a hospital environment is to feel safe, protected and cared for.

Maybe if a mental health nurse or HCA could have been arranged, as a sitter to help manage this difficult patient on the ward. This would have protected other patients and allowed the nurses on the ward to get on with their normal routine and not neglect the needs of other patients.

Story from NHS Choices

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