"Lack of planning for patient to receive visitors"

About: Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust / Mental Health Services for Older People – Inpatient

(as a relative),

I know that hospital wards can be particularly short of staff at weekends and bank holidays but there were enough about on the occasion I am about to describe.

It was between Christmas and New Year and I had telephoned Cherry Ward in advance because I needed to know if it would be OK for me to bring along my daughter and my mothers great grandson to visit her. Children are not allowed on mental health wards so I needed to check that special room was available off the ward and that my mother, who had been very poorly over Christmas, was well enough for such a visit.

When we arrived I had to leave my daughter and grandson waiting outside in the corridor while I went to fetch my Mother. She had been told or asked about the visit by the nurse I spoke to earlier but she was not dressed and was in a state of anger and distress. There were other nurses about but a changeover had taken place. Everyone seemed preoccupied but not doing anything to help me or attend to my mother. I went to the office and the staff nurse there was on the phone so I could not get his attention.

Eventually I was back outside the ward waiting with my daughter and grandson after being told someone would attend to my mother and see if she calmed down. Later still we were allowed into the visitors room but my mother never came across so after over an hour of waiting in total we left. The grandson is only 2 and a half. I was particularly disappointed that a protracted phonecall seemed to take priority over live issues affecting people that the system is meant to be helping.

It is my belief that had one of the nurses helped my mother to dress she would not have got into that distressed condition which she had not been in at the time of my initial call. She had not been able to dress herself because she did not have any clothes in her room. Maybe the nurse who took the call from me could have done more to ensure the next shift were aware of what was needed.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››


Response from Andrea Ward, General Manager , Mental Health Services for Older People, Nottinghamshire Healthcare We are preparing to make a change

I am very sorry to hear that you found such difficulties when attempting to visit your mother with children. We always try to facilitate visits whenever we can because we know the benefits that this brings for everyone, particularly during the festivities.

It appears that you didn't have a good experience on this occasion and we will look very closely at what went wrong in an attempt to ensure this doesn't happen again.

I've spoken to Sharon Howe, the ward's matron and she will be discussing this with the ward team to see what could have been done differently. Thank you for bringing this to our attention, raising these issues gives us the opportunity to improve what we do and how we do it.

  • {{helpful}} of {{total()}} people think this response is helpful

Response from Veronica Smith, Operational Manager (Clinical), Mental Health Services for Older People Highbury Hospital, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Matron Sharon Howe on discussion with the ward manager has identified that there were issues with communication around the planned visit. To discuss the matter further please contact Sharon on 0115 8542257.

  • Windblows thinks this response is helpful
    {{helpful-1}} of {{totalOthers()}} other people think so too

Updates, changes and questions related to this story