"Basic Nursing care levels"

About: East Surrey Hospital / General surgery

(as a relative),

I need to record the deterioration of my father's health during his three months on Abinger Ward simply so consideration can be given to communication with families in similar positions still in hospital.

On admission in February to East Surrey hospital, dad was diagnosed with high potassium levels, dehydration and a urine infection, he was able to transfer from his wheelchair to an arm chair. He could sit and eat dinner from a table, feeding himself.

Over the last three months the doctor explained that dad has gone through "cycles of dehydration" presumably the reason why he could not be discharged sooner.

Having recently transferred to Coppice Lea Nursing home it transpires that dad has bedsores on his feet and back - which was weeping and he can no longer straighten his legs. The care assistant said his teeth were very dirty and when I first visited him in the nursing home they were noticeably whiter, having got brown in hospital.

I cannot understand the level of care that would lead to this deterioration. Visiting weekly we could see the weight loss, which we began to assume was due to a medical issue. Why were we not asked to help with feeding and drinking if staff didn't have enough time to attend to him?

How did he get dehydrated in hospital?

Is no time taken to turn patients to avoid the ultimate in poor care - bedsores?

And the dignity of having help in brushing your teeth if you can't manage is that now overlooked?

I appreciate that he may have refused physio or food but doesn't there come a point when you consult us as family to help if you see a patient getting worse under your care?

We understand that the demands on staff are high these days and that dad, not having an acute condition, would not be a great priority but surely it would pay to have got him better to release the bed that was so sought after in the last days of his stay that he was transferred to Coppice Lea without our knowledge. The nursing staff were all very friendly on my visits but no one really seemed to know what was going on with him. We only wish he could have been discharged to a nursing home sooner where the level of care he now needs could be provided.

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Response from Eloise Clarke, Communications Manager, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear 'Lloyds family'

I am sorry to read your comment and want to thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention. Abinger Ward Matron, Keith Middleton would like to investigate this further, and would like to talk to you. This comment is anonymous, so please can you email Keith and I with your phone number and/or email address so he can call you.

eloise.clarke@sash.nhs.uk and keith.middleton@sash.nhs.uk

Many thanks

Eloise Clarke

Communications Manager

01737 768511 ext 6844

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Update posted by Lloyds family (a relative)

I have just had a phone call from Tapuwa Matinya Abinger Ward Manager.

She has very kindly explained my dad's condition, the steps they took to care for him during his stay in hospital, the reasons for his loss of weight and physical condition and the efforts they took to prevent this. She also explained that he was at the point of discharge when other medical conditions concerned them and delayed this. She offered a meeting but I did not feel this necessary and I wanted to say that I am very grateful for her contact in putting me at ease over my concerns and for the nursing care that took place as they did what they could.

Thank you for helping me resolve these worries I can ask for nothing more

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