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"Absolutely exceptional care in A&E and HDU"

About: Scottish Ambulance Service / Emergency Ambulance University Hospital Wishaw / Accident & Emergency University Hospital Wishaw / Adult Critical Care Unit (ACCU)

(as a relative),

We came to A&E with my mum in the early hours at the beginning of January after waiting 5 and a half hours for an ambulance we arrived stressed and worried. Mum had been diagnosed with cancer 5 weeks ago but didn’t tell anyone as we’re getting married. She told us that she had cancer in her lungs. When we arrived she was really struggling with her breathing and was very agitated. Natalie the Nightshift nurse was brilliant at calming her and the whole team worked together to have all her care completed within an hour. Nicki took over on day shift and moved me from the waiting room to a family room until I could go and see mum in resus.

A doctor came in and told us they were treating mum as covid from her chest x-Ray and told me her cancer hadn’t spread and we had options. Nicki then took me through to see her and was so friendly, empathetic and compassionate through our mums time in resus. Nothing was too much trouble and he was so attentive to mum and I. Mums respiratory consultant Dr Chia came to see mum while she was in resus. She took me to a triage room and told us that the chest x Ray showed mums cancer had spread and she was in the last hours of her life. She was honest with us and told us this devastating news in a kind and compassionate way.

Mum always commented on how nice Dr Chia was and spoke so highly of the care she gave her. Mum was uncomfortable on the A&E trolley and Carrie the nurse in charge arranged for a bed in HDU so she would be more comfortable. Carrie was also incredible and did everything she could for me and mum. She checked in on us regularly and always asked if there was anything else we needed. We were quickly moved to HDU. I left mum for 10 minutes while they got her onto her new bed. Nurse Nadine came to see me in the family room to introduce herself and talk us through what was happening with mum. I had to tell my dad and sister when they came up that she wasn’t being treated for covid and was end of life.

I know mistakes are easily made but the A&E doctor gave us hope that her cancer hadn’t spread and it was difficult to tell my family that it had and she was end of life when they thought she had a good chance of recovery. Nadine talked me through how to tell them and offered to be there to support us when I told them. After this I went in to see mum and she was sitting so comfy in bed with pillows all fixed in at her back, a fan on to cool her and the window open for fresh air. I had never seen her look so comfy or contented. She was still struggling to breathe but was much calmer and cooler, she had been very warm and this was making her agitated. Without even having to ask the team had done everything possible to make her comfy and peaceful. We were brought tea and coffee and biscuits. We hadn’t eaten for nearly 24 hours so this was much appreciated.

Nadine went for break but came to us to let us know this and told us to come and get her if we needed anything at all. Dr Frew was also incredible. We got a DNAR in place very quickly and an anticipatory care plan in place and mum was prescribed medication to keep her calm. Nadine continued to check on us and mum the short while we were there. Mum passed peacefully a few hours later and it was the nicest way we could have hoped for. I cannot express our gratitude as a family for the care, compassion and empathy shown to us at this difficult time. From setting foot through the front door to leaving the hospital everything was exceptional and we were so well looked after.

Please pass our thanks onto Natalie, Nicki, Carrie, Nadine and Dr Frew and Chia. They all went above and beyond for mum and our family and there are no words to express our thanks and gratitude.

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Responses

Response from Policy Lead for Palliative and End of Life Care, Scottish Government last week
Submitted on 11/01/2022 at 17:35
Published on Care Opinion on 12/01/2022 at 09:51


Dear Starsbucksgirl.

Thank you for telling this story, I can't imagine the pressure the staff you praise are facing, yet your account shows they found time and space and kindness for you, your family and of course your mother.

I was particularly struck by how Nadine helped you find the confidence to speak with your family, and hoped others might emulate her.

I am no longer directly involved in Palliative Care, but was so moved by your account I felt compelled to respond. I hope the care I find, in my turn, will also be attended by the likes of Natalie, Nicki, Carrie, Nadine and Drs Frew and Chia.

Tim Warren - former policy lead for Palliative Care and End of Life Care with the Scottish Government.

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Response from Faith McCrea, Service Manager, Emergency & Medical Services, University Hospital Wishaw, NHS Lanarkshire last week
Faith McCrea
Service Manager, Emergency & Medical Services, University Hospital Wishaw,
NHS Lanarkshire
Submitted on 12/01/2022 at 10:18
Published on Care Opinion at 10:18


Dear Starbucksgal

Thank you very much for getting in touch and for your comments in relation to the care your mother received here at University Hospital Wishaw during the last few hours of her life. I have no doubt that this was a very worrying and distressing time for you personally as well as to your family and I sincerely express my condolences to you and your family.

It is very reassuring to read your comments and I will ensure that this is passed back to the staff whom you have personally mentioned, who work so hard in ensuring the care we deliver to patients is of a high standard, as well as being compassionate to the families of our patients. I have no doubt they will be delighted for the feedback.

Again, thank you for taking the time to write this feedback

Take care and Best wishes to you and your family

Faith

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Response from Lesley Kay, Patient Experience Team Leader, Corporate Affairs, Scottish Ambulance Service last week
Lesley Kay
Patient Experience Team Leader, Corporate Affairs,
Scottish Ambulance Service
Submitted on 12/01/2022 at 10:24
Published on Care Opinion at 10:24


Dear Starucksgal

Thank you for taking the time to post your Feedback during what must be an incredibly difficult time. I read your post with great sadness and I hope comfort can be taken from the great care given to your mum last moments of her life by the wonderful staff you mention.

Please accept my sincere condolences to you and your family for the sad loss of your mum.

I would really like to have the matter looked into as to why an ambulance took five hours to get to your mum. If you would like me to do this for you, please may I ask you email our team at sas.feedback@nhs.scot with your mum's name, address and date of when an ambulance was called. Please can I ask you make reference to your Careopinion user name. Alternatively you can contact me directly on 07385038883.

Kindest Regards

Lesley

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