"a climate of fear for those who advocate on behalf..."

About: Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Gateshead)

What I liked

-The surgery worked.

-They have some great people at the hospital and we not forget this in our feedback.

-sorry this is anonymous as previously I have had a good experience of the QE orthopaedics. But I am young, fit and motivated- low maintenance. This is our family experience of having an elderly parent in their care.

-given that we are still under the care of the hospital we did not wish to prejudice further treatment or engagement with staff.

What could be improved

-Elderly stroke patient hospitalised for one of the most comment complaints, broken hip. For the most part my parent was left without any adequate strategy that promoted comfort, safety and hydration. We were dismissed when raising concerns about what we saw as the onset of delirium and treated with hostility when we asked questions. Creating a climate of fear as we felt we were being labelled.

-When we raised concerns about lack of feeding (we learned that food left on trays was not because it was not wanted, but no one had blended it or fed my parent who has paralysis) these were ignored. Physiotherapy appeared to be offered only minimally to the elderly and exercise schedules to the younger patients.

-When concerns were raised about the level of staffing with regard to patient safety – eating alone with a history of aspiration, food not being blended whilst on a pure diet, signs of confusion in a patient who needed constant supervision to prevent falls…. All fell on deaf ears. As a family we offered to be present at meal times to assist with feeding, this was not allowed. fair enough, its the rules, but you should provide adequate, trained staff.

-Staff showing a lack of priority to the elderly was also an issue. My parent, like many elderly people have issue with incontinence. Staff were asked to assist with toileting and you would not see them again, they would indicate someone would come and they would be forever eating at the nurse’s station. This is an important issue in elderly care to prevent UTI’s. -basic care.

Anything else?

-Saddest thing was my parent’s hospitalisation landed on a Holy Day. The staff aware that this was a Holy Day, We were unable to visit on the hours prescribed and asked that because of transport issues, we may be allowed on that one day to visit outside of scheduled hours – we were told in no uncertain terms that this would not be allowed. Visiting times was not flexible. Compassion was lacking and tone in which we were met left us all distressed.

-Visiting time was at the same period as staff handover, seeking updates and wanting to meet with my parent’s nurse to look at a discharge plan, always seemed to be an inconvenience, we had to approach a group of staff and we had the impression we were always interrupting. They could learn from other hospitals where hand over is done at the patient bedside and patient / family can contribute to care plan.

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Response from Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Thank you for providing feedback on your experience of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. I am sorry you feel disappointed with aspects of the care given to your parent and the attitude of the staff.

We try very hard to ensure the best possible care for all patients and we encourage patients and relatives to feedback to us when they feel this has not been achieved. We take negative feedback very seriously and we use comments such as yours to help in the future training of our staff.

I am concerned about a number of issues you have raised and would like to look into this further. Please be reassured this would not prejudice any further treatment or engagement with staff.

If you would like us to investigate the specific issues you have mentioned, we would need you to raise this with us directly. If you would like to do this please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on 0800 953 0667

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