"My father experienced poor standards of care"

About: Queen's Medical Centre / Accident and emergency Queen's Medical Centre / Older people's healthcare

(as a relative),

My father was admitted to the Queen’s medical centre hospital at the beginning of April after a fall. He was later transferred from A & E to the admission ward. It was a nightmare situation from start to finish for him and his family.

When we came to visit him the next day. The following was noted.

* The staff seemed unaware that he is registered partially sighted; very hard of hearing and that English is not his first language.

* He had not been given any dinner, not one nurse we spoke to could explain the reason for this. We can only assume that when (if) they had asked what he wanted, he had not heard or not understood them and they took it to mean that he did not want any.

* It seemed that his sight and hearing problem were not taken into account. When medication was given to him, the nurse did not stay around to make sure that he understood that one was in tablet form and the other in liquid form. He could not see the tablets and did not realise there were three of them therefore dropped two on the floor. If I had not been there, would the nurse have even noticed being as she simply had gone on to the next patient? He thought the liquid medication was in tablet form and spilt it over himself.

* I asked for an interrupter to be provided for him, the nurse said she would inquire but an interrupter never materialised. Despite lots of leaflets always advising that interrupters could be provided, not at any stage were we offered one not even when we asked.

* My father needed to use a urine bottle, but it took the nurse so long to bring it that he wet himself. His hospital gown was changed but then left on the food tray along with the urine bottle, which he went on to use. Not one nurse bothered to remove the soiled hospital gown or urine bottle, they were simply left on his food tray. I would have removed it but was not sure what to do with it, pour it in the sink? Put the dirty gown in the bin? Or was there a special bin for these things? So I asked a passing nurse to remove it, she said she would come back for it, but she did not.

* The supper plates arrived and still the urine bottle and soiled gown remained on the tray. A nurse removed the urine bottle just before putting the plate down. Therefore with one hand she was handling a urine bottle and with the other food. But she left the soiled gown on the food tray.

* Under the hospital bed, my brother found a syringe, an empty crisp packet, and a piece of green material.

* On the corridors near the wards there was a dirty surgical glove laying on the floor, a bit further along another glove was just lying there. And piled up just outside the entrance doors to the ward a stack of mattresses were leaning against the wall. Various boxes and other bits and pieces were also on the corridors.

* In the evening he was due to be transferred to another ward. He was told to get in a wheelchair. The nurse made no attempt to help him out the bed or into the chair. An 87-year-old man, unstable on his feet, who had sustained a head injury, who cannot hear well or understand, was just left to get on with it. Once in the chair, there came the decision that he was not to be sent on the other ward just yet, and he was left in the wheelchair by the bed. Some time later he was told to get back into the bed again. No assistance was offered from the medical staff. We, his family, had to get him out the chair and into the bed. Later he was asked again to get in the wheel chair but the nurse had not even put the brakes on it and he almost landed on the floor. We had not been there I feel he may have sustained a more serious injury than the one he came in with!

* In the space of half an hour, his medical notes were lost a total of three times.

* There seemed to be a lot of nurses on the ward, all seemed busy and stressed but did not seem to be doing much.

* He was then moved to ward 49. We requested that they wrote above his bed, next to his name, that he was partially sighted to make staff award of his situation. Our request made several times went unheeded. My father was so unhappy with the way he had been treated, that he was ready to walk out the door and find his own way home. The whole experience had left him very distressed.

* My father suffers from Glacoma, and has to use eye drops daily, and I was seriously concerned that the staff showed so little awareness of the importance of him taking these drops. They were locked away, but because his English is so poor, he found it very difficult to explain to the nurses that he needed his drops.

* On being discharged, no one asked if he had anyone at home to care for him, there was no referral to social services to check up on him. He could have been going home to a cold house with no one to care for him. No inquires were made about his welfare at home. They did not even tell us when he was to go to have his stitches out.

* I made notes of all I saw there and completed a comments card. To this day I have had no feed-back from the hospital management about my comments.

* Our experience of Queen’s Medical centre was a nightmare from start to finish.

We experienced poor standards of hygiene and a big lack of communication between various staff members during my father’s time at QMC

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