"Care of the elderly"

About: University Hospital Lewisham

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My father was taken to Resus/A&E and eventually to a ward on several occasions over the last four months. I cannot fault and have great appreciation for the actions and treatment by the Resus/A&E staff who were efficient empathatic, understanding and caring when dealing with my 91 year old father suffering from dehydration, hypothermia, low blood pressure and dementia all be it not all at the same time. Unfortunately the care he received on Oak and Elm ward left alot to be desired. There seemed to be lack of staff on wards especially at weekends. It wasnt unusual to stand at the nurses station waiting to talk to nurses whilst they read magazine or had conversations between themselves about non medical related subjects. On some occasions their sheer indifference had to be seen to be believed. On two occasions my fathers bed had not been changed for two days. To ascertain how my father was nurses never seemed to know and I had to read the patient notes at end of bed, on several occasion daily observations were made a day late. On one occasion when visiting my father a patient asked my husband to take him to toilet, my husband talked to nurse at nurse station it was 30 minutes til the nurse came into the ward and eventually helped patient. I know my father was a bit of a handful at times but the only people to interact with him or talk to us about him were the (sorry dont know their names) auxiallaries and the tea trolley ladies who always had a cheery word. On one occasion when my father was discharged from hospital he waited off ward for transport for seven hours eventually getting home early evening unfortunately there was only a driver on transport so my father had to pull himself on the bannisters up the stairs with help of driver who apologised for short staff and my father collapsed when he got inside flat. From that time on he was in a weakened state and went steadily down hill. My father died 10th June 2013

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Response from Patient Experience Team, Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust

I am sorry to hear that you were not happy with the service that you and your father received from Elm and Oak wards. I am also very sorry to hear of your sad loss and offer my condolences to you and your family. We constantly strive to provide the best service that we can to all of our patients and visitors and are always concerned if we hear that somebody has not been happy with our services. If you would like to make a formal complaint we can fully investigate the circumstances around your Father's care and provide you with a full written response. If you wish to do so please contact our PALS team on 020 8333 3355. Rest assured that the information that you have already provided has been passed on to the senior nurse in charge of Oak and Elm, and she will look into this matter as far as she is able with the details that you have already provided.

Kind regards

Janette Haworth

Head of Patient Experience

Lewisham Healthcare NHS Trust

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Response from University Hospital Lewisham

Thank you for your comments about your father's experience at University Hospital Lewisham. We welcome all comments about our services. I am sorry that you felt unhappy with the care that your father received on Oak and Elm wards. I have passed your comments to the matron so that she can try to investigate your concerns. It helps us to investigate if we have the full details of any concern reported to us and these can be given to our PALS service who can be contacted on 020 8333 3355. I am very sorry for your sad loss and wish you well for the future. Janette Haworth Head of Patient Experience

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