"My relative's experience on Hilton Main, at Cannock Chase Hospital "

About: Cannock Chase Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as a relative),

My relative had a knee replacement operation recently and was put on Hilton Main ward for after care. I came to visit it one evening with my sister and he complained of pain, his face was white and ashen. When I asked what had been administered, the reply was a throat spray which I thought quite odd and he had a cannula with 3 outlets situated on right hand. The throat spray had not been sufficient and I offered to speak to a nurse, to see if any morphine could be given or anything else, but being a very proud man and not wanting to appear weak, he said he would speak to someone when we had gone home. I asked him if the surgeon had given him a knee block after the op but he explained he was in pain when he came around. I had been to see a previous relative at Oswestry Hospital a year before and from that experience, I understood that this was what surgeons do after the operation to block the pain after swelling etc on knee ops. I was confused that it didn’t seem to have happened in this case.

The kitchen was opposite my relatives ward and a staff member had wedged the kitchen door open so it would stay that way. The humming from the fridge was very loud and irritating even for me and my sister visiting and he complained he could not sleep. I shut the door and my relative in bed expressed it was a relief, as it blocked out the fridge noise, but a minute later a staff member wedged it open again. I found a nurse, explained the problem and enquired if I could shut the door so that he could get some rest. She was very helpful and pleasant and agreed I could shut it. I sat down again and the door was wedged open once again by a health care assistant. This seemed like a case of poor communication, that the message had not been given to other staff members.

It is very distressing as a relative to see a loved one in pain and with the drugs available today this should not be the case. And surely the kitchen door is a fire door and should be kept shut at all times. For recovery, sleep is important after a major operation but cannot be achieved when you are listening to loud humming and mixing this with pain isn’t an ideal situation.

After we left, the nurses gave our relative a suppository, which he explained when he came home helped to ease his pain more or less straight away. Although, on discharge, he was sent home with paracetamol, which did not leave him pain free. He had to have his GP visit him, as he could not physically go himself, and have his GP administer stronger medication. He had rang the ward prior to all this for help and was given another number, only to be given NHS Direct number. I feel that this is not acceptable when a patient is in pain. I feel the ward should have arranged for a District Nurse to go out in the community straight away.

The good points were that the hospital area appeared very clean and staff were friendly. My relative explained the staff were caring on Hilton Main.

Ideas for improvement: More training on pain relief. The need for noise reduction on the ward. Greater consideration for health and safety, by closing fire doors.

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Responses

Response from Head of Patient Experience, Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust

Dear "True1970"

I am sorry that your relative had a bad experience during their recent stay on Hilton Main Ward. I have shared your concerns with the Matron of Cannock Hospital and will provide you with general feedback around the issues raised as soon as possible. Alternatively, if your relative would specifically like us to look at what went wrong for himself personally, he could contact our advice team on 01785 886104

Kind Regards

Angela Grocott

Head of Patient Experience

Response from Head of Patient Experience, Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust

Dear "True1970"

I have now received this response from a Ward Sister on Hilton Main to your concerns raised:

"Firstly, I would like to apologise for our failings to adequately control in this instance their relatives pain. We aim to keep our patients as pain free as able to improve their recovery and promote mobilsation and reduce complications post surgery. We use pain assessment charts, observatIon charts and comfort rounds to assist in the assessing/monitoring and action any issues in our patients pain and apologise if we have failed at this time.

It is very difficult to comment further on the relatives individual concerns unless I have access to the patient details and can investigate further but I would like to make a few points. We do not have access to "throat sprays" to control pain so I am unsure what this is in relation to. Regarding the question about nerve blocks, not all our patients routinely receive a femoral nerve block for pain control post operatively, this is at the discretion of the anaesthetist following their discussion pre operatively with their patient. Also, we encourage our patients on discharge that if they have any issues or concerns once they are home to ring the ward and we will assist in any way possible. If we cannot assist over the telephone we usually recommend a further course of action following discussion ie see their GP or come to ward etc. I do not know the circumstances of this conversation without further investigation but, sending a district nurse to the patient would not of being beneficial. The patient needed an analgesic review by a Doctor. I will discuss these concerns with the Ward Manager and ensure the whole team, through discussion at ward meeting, are aware of reducing noise at night, monitoring of post operative pain and dealing with call backs effectively.

In relation to the noisy environment and poor sleep this is wholy unacceptable and the fridge in the kitchen intermittently humms. This was reported to works last week and repaired. It again has started to hum over the weekend and re reported this today. We have also contacted works to see if they can install an automatic soft close spring to close the kitchen door quietly as it currently does not and slams repeatedly. Today I have placed a laminated sign to the kitchen doors to remind staff to keep the doors closed at all times."

I hope that this response offers you some reassurance that we do take all concerns raised seriously. If this response raises further questions please do not hesitate to contact the Patient Advice Centre as previously suggested.

Kind Regards

Angela Grocott

Head of Patient Experience