"It really depends on which department you end up..."

About: St Peter's Hospital (Chertsey)

What I liked

My father had fantastic treatment as an outpatient with non hodgkins lymphoma/lukaemia. The consultant and his team were very patient and caring. Appointments were well organised and you normally were seen on time, treatment was explained thoroughly.

When he was admitted in June with possible heart failure, the cardiac ward where he stayed for 1 week was spotlessly clean, very well laid out and the nurses were very caring and efficient. There was a bit of a delay getting information from the doctor but overall satisfactory.

However his last weekend before he passed away was admitted to a ward (?)because he had TIA's This was not up to the same standard. The ward was cramped and it was very hot, there were not enough fans- I was told that maybe I should bring one from home!! Although the staff nurse was very kind, you could see she was overstretched and could not deliver basic care properly to the seriously ill patients on the ward. When he was discharged we had to wait ages for transport and also I had to go back and collect medication as it was not ready until later that night which was very distressing for me and my family under the circumstances. We did ask about a private room and even were prepared to pay but there was not one available. Perhaps we should not have called an ambulance from the nursing home on that occasion but the nurses at the home recommended this. I later learnt that he had also contracted MRSA which I was very shocked & upset about. However, I did not tell my mother or sister this information nor pursue this any further at the time due to the emotional distress as he passed away on 4th July at the Nursing Home.

I really feel that there was not enough proper support at the end of his life & feel you need to

urgently review your end of life/elderly care policy as this can really make all the difference to the patient and the family' suffering at this most traumatic time. Thank you.

What could be improved

see above

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Responses

Response from St Peter's Hospital

Firstly, please accept our sincere condolences at the loss of your father, and we are very sorry indeed to hear that you feel he didn't receive the right support at the end of his life. Whilst it is encouraging to read that his care in our hospital both as an outpatient and as an inpatient on our cardiac ward was very good, it is very saddening to read that his care at the end of his life did not seem to be at the same high standards. Care at the end of someone's life is extremely important, both for the patient and also for their family, and we absolutely understand how distressing this time is for everyone involved. We are doing a lot of work here at the Trust to review the care we offer to people at the end of their life and to ensure they are able to make the right choices about where to die, which often shouldn't be in an acute hospital. We are starting to work much more closely with our community colleagues and GPs to make sure people do feel supported at this very difficult time and that they know where and how to access the services they need. We also have an End of Life Steering Group which meets regularly and is led by a Consultant Nurse with users/family members attending which will also help us improve our services. In the meantime, acknowledging that there is more we need to do, this area of work has been highlighted as one of our top priorities for this year.

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