Situation:My mum, aged 75yrs normally a capable woman who lives independently on her own.She has been admitted to medical wards at BGH.
Background: she had a few days of some confusion, tired and had a fall at home. She has heart failure and bereaved of her husband October 2020.
Situation: a call to GP practice was followed up immediately and she was seen and given a thorough check up..the ANP was wonderful and listened to mum and myself as I filled in the blanks when mum wasn't able to. She was admitted to ED.
The nursing staff, technicians and porters were fun and kind. The medical registrar was again very thorough and listened to her experiences and explained what she would like to do. She was aware of mum's bereavement.
Admitted to MAU, Ward 6 and her stay here was worrying for us but staff were available to meet her needs and speak to me about how she had been and plans of her care. This was very important because as the sole visitor of a large family of siblings home and abroad, who was keeping the family updated. This meant the family did not need to call the ward too.
After 48 hrs mum was moved to ward 4. This was where her husband had died, months previously. Despite being next of kin, I had not been informed of the move. When I tried to book a visit to see her that day, was informed the visiting hours were reduced and only available 2-7. In MAU, it was 10-7. I am very unclear why the change..surely BGH have a visiting policy? Also, in MAU I was to wear a mask and sanitise hands, in ward 4 mask, gloves and apron. But was the only visitor in a bed area of 6, sat by my mum and held her hand, hugged and kissed her.
The biggest change was the staff. The ward clerkess is wonderful. Kind, cheery and nothing is a problem.
When visiting, I stand at the door buzzing for up to 12 minutes, waiting for someone to open the door and check out my covid tick boxed chart. Or if a friendly domestic answers, i can walk straight in, unchallenged by any trained staff who are sitting at the PC at the nurses station or standing outside the rooms noting in charts. NO eye contact, no welcome, no information given. When asked for updates I was advised 'I've been on days off..I'll get -- to speak to you' or 'she only came here today, i haven't had handover' , or another, after my 45 mins allocated visit was finishing, 'I know you are wanting to speak to me but, the Dr is just coming, they'll talk to you.
Mum, as she became clearer, was aware one of her possible diagnosis was same as her husband died of on Ward 4 in October last year.
Recommendation: Communication skills of staff on this ward need to be vastly improved. Given there are very few visitors visiting at any one time, could they make themselves available for an update about your relative. A smile, acknowledgement and a little compassion would go a long way to making a very worrying time a little easier for the visitor and patient.
As a confused lady, my mum could not tell me with any confidence about her condition or plan of care.
I did speak with the Consultant..she took time to talk through all the symptoms, the possible causes and the plan moving forward. Sadly, I have not felt confident in mums care in ward 4 because of my experience as a daily visitor. She has, after a full week, come back from any confusion. A member of staff told her she'd ' been off her head'.
I hope by sharing our experience, staff can learn from this and recognise that communication is vital.
I would like to end on a positive. When my step dad was in BGH last year, there was no visiting which was very difficult however, the communication was excellent! Daily medical and nursing updates. And as he died and visiting afterwards, staff were available and kind.
"My mother's hospital experience"
About: Borders General Hospital / Acute Assessment Unit Borders General Hospital Acute Assessment Unit Melrose TD6 9BS Borders General Hospital / General Medicine Borders General Hospital General Medicine TD6 9BS Borders General Practices Borders General Practices
Posted by Concerned29 (as ),