"Excellent hospital working under pressure"

About: Charing Cross Hospital

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My elderly mother was admitted for an ENT surgical procedure and stayed one night at the Riverside ward. We have nothing but praise for 99% of the staff, from the highly skilled surgeon and anaesthetist, across all nursing teams to the domestic staff. Some distress arose from what seemed to be a shortage of staff and longish waits with communication being a bit hit and miss, though I believe that this is now the norm across the NHS and not unusual. In this atmosphere the staff we encountered managed to be impressively calm and professional throughout. What could have been improved? I was allowed to accompany my mother, who is registered sight impaired, wears hearing aids and speaks very little English, to the theatre suite, so that I could interpret and take out her hearing aids. I was asked to wait for her at the Riverside centre, where I waited and waited and waited. The receptionist initially would not call the recovery, but then consented when I explained the situation again. She called recovery, explained that my mother needs an interpreter and that I, the daughter is waiting to come up for interpreting. It took her a very long time to explain this over and over again before the receptionist in recovery understood this. I went to recovery and again the receptionist kept saying that they will 'arrange for an interpreter' to see my mother. I had to become very firm before I was let into recovery. My mother had been there for quite some time and she was very well looked after by an excellent nurse (so very efficient, friendly and calm), but also distressed without her hearing aids and my presence to explain what was happening with her. Then there was a long wait to get my mother to the ward, because of short staffing. This meant bedpan overflow from the IV fluids, and several changes of bedding, as commode or toilet are not available in recovery. The nurse then took us to the ward where my mother was able to get up, eat, drink and take her medication. Phew! The nursing staff at Riverside were caring and lovely and the choice of food was good. Regarding infection control My mother raised one concern: A cleaner came and swept a yellow duster across the overhead lamp with her in the bed below, just having had a surgical procedure in her nose. She quickly covered her face and saw that the cleaner then did the same above the other two beds with patients below. My mother has no central, but peripheral vision, so I am not sure what she saw. However, sweeping above a bed when a patient is in it does not seem like a good idea. Overall, thank you all very much with providing my mother with this much needed surgery and friendly after care on the ward!!!

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Response from Charing Cross Hospital

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust is delighted to have your feedback following your mother's admission. Thank you for your kind expression of appreciation for our ENT team, nurses on Riverside and domestic staff. Your comments with regard to communication with Theatres and the cleaner are also important to us and have been reported to managers concerned as we seek to ensure we provide a good experience for our patients and learn from their experiences. We hope your mother is making a good recovery.

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