"My father's care at Solihull Hospital"

About: Solihull Hospital / Older people's healthcare

(as the patient),

My late father spent time in Solihull Hospital before Christmas. While it is fair to say that the staff were on the whole well meaning, standards seemed to me far short of satisfactory. Trying to call for help to go to the toilet, and getting no response, my father tried to get out of bed, fell and broke his ankle. No one would take any responsibility for this, as when I made enquiries he had been moved to another ward who washed their hands of the matter. In this other ward there were some concerns. A cup of water was placed out of reach; there were no tissues available; the buzzer was put in its dock on the wall behind the bed so it couldn't be reached; a patient in the bed opposite was in obvious distress when having a bed bath and screamed loudly - surely such procedures shouldn't take place in visiting hours, for the dignity of all concerned? I wonder why elderly people are spoken to like children, and called by their first name without being invited? It may sound trivial, but such matters can affect a person's self esteem and therefore general well-being. I was asked by a consultant what I thought about my father having an operation on his ankle. Not being a medical professional I wondered why I was being asked. I guess this is to remove the responsibility of such decisions from the NHS and therefore avoid litigation if anything goes wrong. If this is the case, it can hardly be seen to be driven by the best interests of the patient. I asked a friend of mine who is a professional, and they advised going ahead with the operation. After this I was shunted around various consultants, being giving conflicting advice, until the operation took place some three weeks later. My father died five days later, not, it should be said, from the operation, but from the terminal cancer for which he had been admitted. However, all the indecision and waiting did nothing for his morale in his final days. During his stay in hospital, my father contracted MRSA and a urinary infection, factors which again made me feel that he was never in safe hands. Isn't it time that the whole nursing culture was changed? Surely if someone doesn't have the common sense to put a cup of water in reach of a patient, or removes their buzzer, the patient’s only means of getting attention, then they are not up to the job.
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