My mum just came home yesterday after a stay of one week in Covid Ward A in the Mater.
The process, when my youngest sister took Mum to the hospital was great. Everything moved quite quickly and Mum was admitted in a relatively short space of time.
Mum is a mother of 7 adult children, many grandkids and great grandkids. She is a very sociable lady, enjoys company, a laugh, her soaps on TV, a wee crossword puzzle, her weekend chinese and a good cup of tea. She is normally a sprightly lady and her mind is 100%, perhaps a little slower now, but in no way senile. She has a hearing issue so we were concerned, if the information from staff was being given to her she wouldn't catch most of it. She has a very undemanding nature, appreciative of any little gesture of kindness, not a person to complain, has a good sense of humour and a positive zest for life.
There was no visiting which we understood given the current situation with Covid (however there was a notice at the ward saying visiting was by appointment). The week Mum was in was horrendous, mainly because the communication from the ward to the family had to be initiated by us. One particular day, I tried the ward from for over 9 hours when I finally got to speak to a staff member - unfortunately I struggled to understand them. They kept repeating that they didn't know anything, and that they couldn't read the Dr's writing. They then said that a page was missing. Seriously! The noise in the background made it even more difficult to try to work out what was being said. There was a promise of a daily phone call if the staff weren't too busy.
Mum had very loose bowel movements. One day she made her own way to the toilet. She has told us there were times when she asked for help to the toilet, she was left too long and simply had to go alone incase of an accident. Do the staff not realise this is an effect of Covid, so if a patient needs to go, they need to go? On this occasion she didn't make it and needed help to get clean, needed changed and the toilet floor was in a mess. The pull cord for help was broke so, at 82 years old she got onto the floor and cleaned the mess up herself. A staff member seen her come out of the toilet, with a very purple face and feeling very breathless and asked was she ok, she said what had happened. When mum came home and we were washing her down, her bottom was swollen red, blistered and not clean. Nobody had treated that for her.Mum is used to company; she lives with my sister and her husband and our family are always in and out. Suddenly, she's hospitalised with a serious illness, she knows she may not make it and whilst all this goes on in her wee head, there are no visitors, no tv in the ward, no staff to sit and chat and comfort her, reassure her, no communication with us other than a mobile phone which she's not sure how to use and we did not want to ring constantly and have her fumbling for the phone when she was masked up. The bag she brought in with her on the day she was admitted was emptied for her the day before she came home. We had brought other supplies on the Saturday and it came home the same way it went in. She wasn't eating well or sleeping well. There were food treats in the bag that may have tempted or appealed to her to eat but she didn't have this available to her.
As a family, we are appalled by what our mum has experienced. My 2 sisters and I brought her home yesterday. We didn't expect her to look good, she's been through a lot and we are so glad she has came home to us so I guess we should be thankful for that. However, the bigger concern for us is her words and her reaction to the week she was in the Mater. I am not blaming specific nurses or doctors, she wasn't harmed in any way by an individual, I realise it's the system that is poor but surely to God, a person in a caring profession could have given her some comfort, reassurance, human touch to make her feel at ease? Could somebody not have taken 5 mins to empty a bag - could a nurse not have cleaned her up when she needed cleaned - she told us (in between her tears) the whole way home that she is so traumatised she can't bring herself to tell us how she felt, how devastatingly lonely she was, and yes, we realise at her age, she was likely contemplating not coming out of there but isn't that what medical teams do, a holistic approach to the care of their patients? Or have I got that totally wrong? She said there are no orderly staff on the ward. The staff are not so busy, yet she saw a lot of shrugging of shoulders from the staff, and suggesting that they "did not know". This behaviour sadly, is picked up on by patients and really doesn't give a sense of security at a time when they are vulnerable.
We are all upset from Mum came home but we will be strong to support and nurture her back but I had to write this to try to clear my mind. I know we are blessed she is home but I know it will take mum a long time to get over this, and should she ever need hospitalised again, she will be in fear having went through this ordeal.
"A stay in the COVID ward"
Posted by NHS Failure (as ),