"Care of elderly mother in St Peter's "

About: St Peter's Hospital / Older people's healthcare

(as a relative),

Following the CQC report today about elderly care in some NHS hospitals, I would like to share my mother’s experience of care Holly Ward in St Peter's Hospital.

My 83 year old mother was recently discharged from St Peter's after a stay of some 8 days (and is now in Woking hospital for rehabilitation). I visited her on a daily basis. She has a broken humerus in her right shoulder, following a fall, and is significantly underweight. She could not visit the toilet unaided and has bladder problems which present as urgency and frequency.

On at least 2 occasions I found her with no sling on her arm (one had been lost, the other was in her bed); she complained that during the day, and especially at night, she was not attended to when she buzzed to be taken to the toilet or wanted the bed pan and she did in fact wet herself. On one occasion, she told me she was told off for using the buzzer at night.

I do not feel that her food intake was not adequately monitored. Her notes contained the phrase "is eating and drinking well" and it was only when I pointed out (and wrote down) that this was not the case, was more monitoring done, but I do not feel this was not consistent. She was given drinks to supplement her weight, but no one checked if she was drinking these and I usually found these were opened, but full, when I visited. She rarely received help with eating, even though she cannot use her right arm (she is right handed) I could find no record of her weight; although I was assured that her weight was being monitored.

I raised all of my concerns with staff on duty, including doctors, one of whom responded with "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink”. However, on admittance to Woking the staff were (and remain) extremely concerned about her weight.

I would also like to express my concern about St Peter's efforts to send her home before it was safe for her to go: once directly from A&E and again 2 days later when she returned with my brother and was admitted.

2 days later my brother was rung to say she was ready to return to her home (she lives alone) with a care package - which could not be put in place for at least 24 hours. Fortunately I was present at the time and saw how, despite the efforts and encouragement of 3 members of staff, my mother could not get on off the bed on her own. Fortunately, I was able to prevent the discharge, but I wonder what would have happened to someone who has no one to speak up on their behalf.

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