"My Husband had Alzheimers and he deserved better treatment"

About: Hospital Of St Cross / Older people's healthcare University Hospital (Coventry) / Older people's healthcare West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

(as a relative),

My husband had Alzheimers since 2009 and where as some people have it for years he went very quickly and from the start it seemed to affect his general health. He was in a residential from September 2011 and then became very poorly in May 2012 and I then fought for CHC and got him into a really good nursing home.

He developed shingles at the beginning of August. A GP was called he was given antiviral drugs but by the Tuesday his condition was a lot worse and a GP was called. They advised that he needed hospital treatment as he was unable to swallow so there was no medication fluids or pain relieve going into him. I agreed on the understanding that he would be admitted to ST Cross in Rugby as I do not drive and have to rely on public transport.

Ambulance came at 6. 30pm and went to St Cross where they said no doctors would admit to having agreed to take him. That was the start of a 12 days from hell. They needed to get a line into him to take bloods and a nurse and doctor came. The nurse grabbed his right arm, this is where all the blisters were, and the doctor proceeded to get the line in. I explained he needed to be told in a gentle and kind manner that they would not harm him. He was so afraid the nurse. Then said he needed to have some intravenous pain relief which was not available on that unit so she did go looking for some.

I was told that he would be transferred to Coventry hospital. Then they said they had found a bed he could stay, then a few minutes later they came back and said no he was going. An ambulance came at 8. 45pm to take us over. When we got to A&E a nurse came and again there was no communication as to what was happening to him. I again told them to reassure him. A doctor came and said lets have a look at the rash. I said he has shingles. They went away. By now it was well past 11. 30pm the doctor came back and grabbed both his legs lifted them and let them drop, my husband cried out he was so unwell. Only one bag of fluid was set up no more pain relief or antibiotics was started. We were then taken to ward 12 into a side ward I left at 2.00am that night to get a taxi back to Rugby.

When I went back in at 11. 30am on the same day the side ward was empty and no one knew where he was he had been taken to ward 21. He was again in a side ward and after some time in the afternoon two doctors came to see him after a lot of shouting and trying to get responses from him I was informed that he was very poorly and that this had now become life threatening, but antibiotics was not started until 10. 00pm on the Wednesday. There was no fluid stand they would hook the bags of antibiotics to a hook on the wall at the back of the bed and fluids and pain relieve I had to give through thickened drinks which were very difficult as he was having problems swallowing and as not very keen on the drinks, they would bring his food by the door which was most days a bit of mash with gravy and yogurt there was never an attempt to liquidise foods he lost almost a stone in the 12 days he was there.

I was there every day between 6 and 7 hours over food times most of the time I was completely ignored. There were some days they would just check him once and some days not at all, the only time the doctor spoke to me after the Wednesday was when they had missed calculated his medication. He should have come out on the Friday and when I asked on the Thursday what time will he be discharged they said no he his not coming out tomorrow and the doctor said it would be unwise to not continue the full course which would finish on the Friday. No update as to how my husband was getting on. Then on the Friday I said what time will he be coming out tomorrow. same thing, they had made a mistake I said no I am not having this you keep moving goal posts. I want to see his doctor and find out what is going on they said all doctors had left being as it was bank holiday after a senior nurse checked it was found the last course of antibiotics could be given on the Saturday.

Ambulance was booked for midday. It never arrived, I was there for over eight hours. He came back to the nursing home on the Sunday.

One day I found the nurses shouting at him because he was anxious when they tried to change him. He left with bed sores and he was discharged under palliative care (END OF LIFE I WAS NEVER TOLD) the nursing home were wonderful and at least the last few days of his life he had lots of love and care. It was peaceful, which he should have had in hospital.

I felt very alone there trying to support my husband with no support from them. Also the NHS Website states shingles is not contagious?

I am not finished with this, I have sent a report to PALS and intend to take this as far as possible. This was not the only time my husband had been in hospital. In 2011, when I was still looking after him at home, he was in C&W then transferred to St Cross came home covered in bruises but I never found out why.

There has to be better treatment for people with dementia who go into hospital. As a relative you are devastated enough when coping with the decline of your loved one to this terrible illness, you need to know they will be loved and looked after if they go into hospital.

I am left a widow at 65 he was a lovely husband and every one says how lovely kind and gentle he was. He deserved better and so did I.

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