"My mother's experience"

About: Forth Valley Royal Hospital / Accident & emergency

(as a relative),

I want to share a story about my mother's experience, which was really not good. My mother is 90 years old, she suffers with Alzheimers and she is partially sighted.

My mother was taken into hospital via ambulance. I have nothing critical to say about the ambulance staff or service at all, they were great, but I was not allowed to go in with my mother when we arrived.

We don't ever leave her on her own so I forced my way in to see her in the A&E in the end. There was a sign about people with memory loss and how they could be helped in hospital. It said to just contact a member of staff. No-one that I spoke to knew about this scheme, although it was in almost every department. Seemingly a butterfly stamp was supposed to be put on the patients wrist and file to let people know there was a memory problem. I have a photo of it. I did tell them but no one took any notice of this.

At 8pm, my mum was transferred to a ward. I was with her all night. She was vomitting until 6am.

She was then moved to another ward where she spent a week. While she was in this ward that her bed was made up with faeces all over the bottom sheet. She was sitting in a chair at this time. The nurses were rushed off their feet so my friend and I changed the bed.

On the Sunday afternoon my brother was told by a junior doctor that she would be discharged that night.. I phoned to say that I would be up at night with her clothes, only to be told that she was not getting home at all, until her Consultant saw her the next day. My brother and I went up to the ward on the Monday afternoon, only to be told that she was now in the Discharge Lounge. When I opened this door I can only describe what I saw as bedlam. Approx 20 people were in this room waiting to be discharged. Two nurses were run off their feet. My mum was crying as she did not know where she was. It was very noisy. I was told by a nurse that the powers that be prefer patients to go to the discharge lounge to free up beds, but given my mums condition, surely she could have been sat in a chair in the ward until we arrived?

Eventually we were allowed to leave minus medication, which was to be sent to us by taxi that night. Mum was very distraught all the way home in the car (and for the following week.) I phoned again on the day after she'd been discharged as no medication had arrived. I was told they would phone me back. After 3 hours I phoned again to be told that the medication she went in with could not be found, and that the Consultant had decided against giving her any new medication. In other words, we waited at the Discharge lounge for no reason.

She also had compression stockings on for a week and I do not think these had been removed at all, as it was like a snow storm of dry skin, when I took them off!

I was very disappointed by the treatment my Mum received.

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Response from Arlian Mallis, Person Centred Health and Care Co-ordinator, Department of Nursing, NHS Forth Valley

I am very concerned about some of the care you have described, particularly around dignity ,respect, access to the Butterfly Scheme and your role as a carer for your mum.

I would like to ensure that we learn from and make changes based on the information you have shared. In order to do this I would like to speak with you confidentially, can you please get in touch directly or via Patient Opinion . In the meantime I will share your story with staff and post a further response to you.

My direct contact number is 07827820353.

I look forward to speaking with you,

Many thanks


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Response from Arlian Mallis, Person Centred Health and Care Co-ordinator, Department of Nursing, NHS Forth Valley

Thanks very much for meeting with me, I hope that I was able to offer you some assurance around your mums journey and experience of care. As we discussed I have now initiated the scheme for people with memory problems for your mum. We continue to roll out this programme in NHS Forth Valley and are planning to widen our training and awareness sessions.

I have shared your story ( anonymously) with the staff involved in your mum's care, where we are looking at what can be learned from your mum's experience.

It would appear that during the time your mum was admitted the hospital was particularly busy, however this has highlighted the need for us to explain to patients and carers that patients will be moved to different wards and to the discharge lounge throughout their stay. It is our policy to inform relatives when their family member is being moved and I apologise that this was not the case for you.

We are working hard to ensure that accurate communication across the service is experienced, I recognise that this has not been the case for you, and again offer my apologies .

With regard to your mum's stockings , they should have been removed on a daily basis during personal hygiene. These stockings can make a person's skin dry and flaky so its important to check skin on a regular basis. I've also shared this with the staff involved in caring for your Mum and it's been agreed to remind all staff to be attentive to skin care in these situations.

Thanks again,


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Response from Arlian Mallis, Person Centred Health and Care Co-ordinator, Department of Nursing, NHS Forth Valley We have made a change

Hi there

I wanted to let you know that we have been working towards making some changes in our A&E department to ensure that we meet the needs of carers/ relatives who may be left in the waiting areas whilst the patients care is being assessed.

We realise that this can be an anxious time, in response we are trying to ensure that relatives and carers can be in the department with the patient at the earliest opportunity.

This is proving to be positive for all.

Thanks for raising this.

Best wishes


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