"Royal Gwent Hospital Elderly Care"

About: Royal Gwent Hospital / Trauma & orthopaedics

(as the patient),

I was admitted to Ward C5 West after breaking my tibia quite badly. This ward is an orthopeodic ward where it was evident that a high proportion of the patients were elderly. My bay reflected this. I am 50 and was 30 years younger than any of the other patients. I am a solicitor that speciailises in elderly client work and have a mother with severe Alzheimers and was therefore keen to watch and observe whether the "horror" stories we read about in the papers were evident in my local hospital and where many of my clients may be patients or indeed may need to look after my mother.

I did not announce who I was (I am also the director of a national organisation which consists of highly qualified experts in the field of elderly client law) and just watched and waited for the anticipted horror to materialise.

I could not have been more wrong. Almost without exception every member of staff from the Sister in Charge to the cleaning staff were kind and caring. They treated the elderly patients (frail and some with dementia) with respect and true care. They took the time to establish a bond with each patient finding out about them as a human being always calling them by their name, checking constantly that they had been drinking enough and, at meal times ensuring that food was eaten and, if not, offering alternatives or encouragement. They gently encouraged independance, where possible and took time with personal care such as washing and going to the loo. They engaged in conversation with each of the patients finding out about their families, likes and dislikes, their past etc. They were very overstretched and managed a high dependancy ward with huge skill and patience. I would like to say a huge thanks to each and every one of them not just for looking after me but changing any preconceived idea I may have held about nursing the elderly whci is certainly not borne out at ward C5 West.

That is not to say their coudn't be improvments but that is to do with the fabric of the building and the lack of proper toileting and washing facilites which meant queuing was common place (not a good idea where there are continenece issues!!). The ward consisted of bays where each bay had either male or female patients so that it was commonplace to see men wandering past the entrance to a female bay. Although there were no incidents of bad behaviour whilst I was there there was one male patient in the next bay who could be heard sweraing and being abusive to the staff and I must admit I was anxious in case he went on the rampage. There seemed to be the usual lack of equipment.

All of these problems are nothing to do with the nursing staff and to them I offer my unreserved praise.

Thank you.

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