"It has been a year since my mother left..."

About: Royal Free Hospital

What I liked

It has been a year since my mother left ward 10 South to be admitted to the Peace Hospice where she died the next day. She had been in the ward – in the same room – for one month, I know she she put up with an awful lot during that time but I know her time there was made more tolerable by the care and dedication of the staff. I am so thankful that she was in the Royal Free and was cared for by people who seemed to be really dedicated to doing a good job. At times their dedication seemed to have brought her onto the road to recovery, but sadly it was not to be.

I really want to thank everybody on the ward involved with her care and also the Palliative care team for their support at the end. They looked after her (and helped me) so well.

What could be improved

I have some observations that I hope will help.

I was puzzled by the absence of a white board above the bed - indicating 'nil-by-mouth', etc. This information was held elsewhere on the ward, unfortunately I gave her some water once when I should not have done - because I did not know otherwise. It seemed a board would also help the staff sometimes. Also issues such as deafness, language, could be indicated.

Could I suggest one for the patient’s family to use? So that any special needs could be noted. I think Mum went without food/drink she could tolerate sometimes because she could not put across exactly what she needed.

Drinks were dispensed in a polystyrene cup with a straw. It seemed these were too easy to knock over and she could not re-fill them as she could not lift the jug. They do not seem ideal for those who could not lift their heads. I imagine there are beakers on site, could they be made more available?

Some months previously she came into a different department for a blood transfusion. This took up most of the day. She did not bring anything to eat or drink and as nothing was expected to be needed she went without. She would not ask, and I believe it was not offered.

Can I suggest that patients are warned of the duration of an out patient procedure? They probably are already - but just to bring in bottled water or something, so they do not become unnecessarily weak or dehydrated.

..don't get me started on the issue of parking...

Anything else?

I don't want these comments to taken as criticisms, I would just like to help make things a little better if possible. But most of all want to pass on my thanks to the staff on 10 South.

I apologise for not writing sooner, but this has not been easy to write.

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