"Two very different experiences of being an inpatient"

About: Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust / Inpatient mental health care

(as the patient),

I was a patient in Ormskirk last year. I feel this is exactly how a mental health unit should be run. The staff were very caring, talked to me every day, asked me how I was feeling. The medication was provided in a small room with just the nurse and a support worker, ensuring total patient confidentiality. My needs were assessed as an individual and were met. All the patients ate their meals on the ward and the food was delicious. In 27 days I was feeling much better and I was discharged.

I was also admitted to Stirling Ward earlier this year. This was a terrible experience. I found the areas of the ward I saw filthy, my medication was given in front of all the other patients on the ward in the corridor ensuring zero patient confidentiality. I found the staff who were involved in my care, in the main, controlling and demanding.

Patients of all 4 wards (88 patients in total) had to eat in the canteen, queuing up which made me feel like an animal. Sometimes the queue could be 50 people. Some patients, like me, were too nervous to go down to the canteen and asked to eat on the ward. Some staff agreed to this, saying that they had a duty of care and they would rather we ate something, but then these staff and patients were reprimanded (the patients were reprimanded publicly in the patient's lounge by staff) and those patients stayed on their beds at mealtimes and ate nothing. How can this been deemed care? Vulnerable adults were not given an opportunity to eat in a way that they felt comfortable which I found appalling.

I saw my named nurse or another nurse on a one-to-one basis only a small handful of times, certainly not the daily occurrence that I experienced at Ormskirk. I was a patient for just under 2 months, and I don't feel any better now than I did before I was admitted. One member of staff at Ormskirk said that they were there to help me get better, so that I could more easily cope with home life. A member of staff at Parkwood said that they were not here to make me feel better, rather to detain me. For me, that sums it up perfectly.

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Response from Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust We are preparing to make a change

Dear Patient,

Thank you for telling us about your recent experiences at Ormskirk and Parkwood. We were delighted to hear that you had such a positive experience at Ormskirk and you found the quality of care to be of such a high standard. We will make sure your comments are passed onto all the staff at Ormskirk, so they can build on the excellent work you have highlighted.

Obviously we were equally disappointed to hear about your experiences at Parkwood. We are sorry that you had such a distressing time and the managers at the unit would like to meet you so we can hear more about what happened. This will help us take the appropriate action to ensure we learn from your time with us and address the issues you highlighted in your comments.

If you would like to take this further please contact our Patient Experience Manager, Steven Edwards at steven.edwards@lancashirecare.nhs.uk

Response from Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Patient,

Since we last responded to your posting a whole series of things have happened to help us improve the quality of care we deliver across the Trust’s Adult Mental Health Inpatient services. Some of these have involved you directly and drawn on your experiences to help us improve standards at all our Adult Inpatient facilities.

Specifically at Parkwood we held a Compassionate Care workshop where staff reflected on your experiences and had a chance to discuss them with you. Further work has been done gathering other patient experiences which have been used to identify ways of improving the quality of care staff are providing.

These include changing the way medication is administered, providing a greater emphasis on patient involvement in care planning and bringing in a new management team. As part of this two wards have closed since the original posting and more staff have been deployed to ensure we raise standards of care on the remaining wards.

We recognise that we still have some way to go in achieving our overall goals but there has been some encouraging signs from recent patient feedback and we would like to thank you for your part in helping us make this happen.

Steven Edwards

Patient Experience Manager

Lancashire Care Foundation Trust