"The basic care nursing is not good enough"

About: Royal Cornwall Hospital (Treliske) / Older people's healthcare

(as the patient),

My father age 82 was admitted to Wheal Cotes ward in March 2007. He is terminally ill with throat cancer which has spread to his lungs.

He was admitted by the GP due to dehydration - he has been unable to swallow for 10 days and is now very thin and frail. Since his admission he has had a naso-gastric feed and iv fluids put in. Because of his weak state he is not able at the moment to have any treatment until his nutritional levels have picked up a bit.

The medical side of his care appears to be good, however I am shocked and upset at the level of nursing care which I intend to discuss with the ward manager today. Elderly, frail, terminal, undernourished and dehydrated - these five factors to me say vulnerable and at risk of developing pressure sores. Do you not agree?

He has not been offered a wash, he has not had his pressure areas checked, he has had a soiled sheet on his bed for two days. I have had to ask for a commode to be emptied, for toilet roll for mouth care, and for pads since he has developed diarrhoea.

This is not rocket science it is very basic nursing care. The side room he is in has no bowl and no plug in the sink. I have been providing all the basic nursing care for my father including washing diarrhoea off his legs and I return to work on Monday which concerns me greatly.

The patient charter states all individuals will be treated with dignity and respect. I see no sign of this on a ward which unlike many is well staffed and not busy.

I work in the community and am always shocked at how many elderly frail people return home from Treliske with pressure sores, this is inexcusable in this day and age. Not once has my father been advised about pressure area care.

He lays in bed very weak, very frail, very thin and very sad. This is like many others a proud man I talk about. He is on a standard mattress, he has no compression stockings on, he is so weak he can mobilise very little and is unsteady. Its not good enough is it?

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