"Nursing care for my aunt in her last hours"

About: The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn, NHS Foundation Trust

(as a relative),

I was not happy with the way my elderly Aunt was treated in the last few hours of her life at the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Kings Lynn. My Aunt was on oxygen and kept asking me for a drink because she was very thirsty. I informed a nurse and was told that they would get her a drink. My Aunt again asked for a drink after at least 15 minutes of waiting for one to arrive. I again asked a nurse and was told she could not have one as she might choke but they would come and moisten her lips. At least another 20 minutes passed by and nobody came to do this so I asked again and was told that someone would be round as soon as possible with some ice for her. Yet more time passed and by this time my Aunt was pleading with me to get her some water so I asked yet again. Eventually a nurse came round with a glass of water with a straw. I was told by this nurse or auxillary that she could not remove the oxygen mask but that I could. I said that I was loathed to do this as i had been told previously that she may choke. The response was that it would take two people to do this, one to take off the mask and one to give the drink, this nurse then went away never to come back again.

Shortly after this my Aunt passed away with me sitting by her side holding her hand, she passed peacefully and how ironic we were taken away and given a cup of tea and my Aunt died thirsty .

The care after she died was not good either. While we out of the ward drinking our "cup of tea" and waiting for relatives who unfortunately did not get to the hospital before she passed away, nobody went in to make her look presentable and peaceful. When we went back in she was still propped up in exactly the same position as when she died with her head on one side and her mouth hanging open. This was quite shocking for all of us. It would have been nice for some one to have gone in and at least layed her down and closed her mouth.

I felt that because she was elderly (88) and obviously dying nobody cared. I also felt like I had let her down, I had travelled from Peterborough to Kings Lynn to visit her and didn't expect this sort of treatment. She was a dignified lady but the way she was left after she died was not dignified at all.

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