"Dying Patient"

About: Heartlands Hospital

Anything else?

Whilst visiting my brother in Ward 10 on Thursday 11 July, I was distressed to listen to the dying gentleman within inches from me in the bed next to my brother. Not only could I vivdly hear him in distress but I could hear a constant running commentary from those around him of how close he was to death and giving a graphic description of how his body was closing down. At least I would have expected in the final moments of this persons life that common descency and respect for the patient, family, patients and visitors in the ward would have been shown. Would it not be possible to move the patient and his relatives to an area of privacy? I understand the gentleman died the following day in the ward with patients and visitors witness to the event. I find this experience totally unacceptable and wish to record this experience to the hospital board and ask that consideration be given to allocate dying patients and relatives to an area of privacy.

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Response from Iona Belgrove, Patient Services Manager, Heart Of England NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Jane Lean

Thank you for your email. I am so sorry to hear of your experience. It can be distressing to hear the last moments of a person’s life, however well cared for, and the distress of other relatives. I do apologise that you and others had to experience this.

Although we cannot discuss the individual situation we can reassure you that a full discussion about environment and the patient concerned has since taken place with relevant parties.

End of life care is a priority for us and we endeavour to provide individualised care for all. You are right to state that for privacy and dignity we should (and do) advocate the use of side rooms for patients approaching the end of their life and their carers too. However, the number of side rooms available at the hospital is limited and, unfortunately, there are often conflicting demands including patients with infectious illnesses who also need isolating. I can reassure you that all efforts are being made to try and place patients in appropriate areas dependent on their individual needs. I am very sorry that we didn't manage to do so in this particular instance and that it also impacted on you and you relative’s experience.

I have passed on your email to our Head Nurse of Patient Experience who will ensure your experience is shared widely through the organisation and that appropriate lessons are learnt.

Kind regards


Patient Services Manager

0121 424 0808

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Response from Heartlands Hospital

Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust would like to take the opportunity to thank you for your feedback and comments on NHS Choices website, this website also feeds into the Patient Opinion website, www.patientopinion.org.uk which is viewed daily by the Trust and a response to your posting will be available here. If you are unable to view the response and would like to discuss further please do not hestitate to contact us (Patient Services on 0121 424 0808) alternatively on www.patientservices@heartofengland.nhs.uk Kind regards Patient Services Department

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