"Queens Hospital, Romford - problems with signs, and aftercare"

About: Queen's Hospital (Romford) Redbridge PCT

(as a relative),

Queens Hospital, Romford - where are the signs????

I received a phone call informing me that my father of 95 had been rushed to the Queens Hospital in Romford with a suspected stroke. We jumped into the car and drove up the Eastern Avenue towards Romford, hoping to see signs that would direct us to the new hospital. We didn't see any. Eventually, my husband said we should turn right as otherwise we would end up in Southend. Luckily, we turned at the right time and eventually found a sign to the hospital.

We were pleased to see a huge car park and a multi-storey car park too. Even though it was early in the morning, the main car park was full and we ended up at the top of the multi-storey. The only problem there was the lack of signs and, having parked, we had no idea how to get out of the place. A sign marked 'hospital' and an arrow would have been helpful.

So far, so good. We found the accident and emergency department, but had to walk past the smokers who clearly couldn't read the signs asking them not to smoke outside of the hospital. It was a lot of walking for my mother, perhaps a few wheelchairs could be left at the car park. We found dad being treated with courtesy and kindness. He clearly had not had a stroke, seemed well and was complaining he was hungry. In the end, my husband nipped out to the cafe and bought him a cheese sandwich, as he had been there for a couple of hours, by then, and nobody had given dad anything to eat.

Later that day, dad was transferred to a nearby ward - but trying to find it again when we visited again, was a nightmare. The hospital is zoned, there are few meaningful signs and even the staff were unsure where his ward was.

Have to say dad's care was thorough, although we noted a confused woman in the ward kept on getting out of bed and shouting for help but received very little and I had to complain to a doctor about it, as the woman clearly was in need of care.

Dad also struggled to understand what the doctor was saying to him. He couldn't understand her accent and it made him look as if he was totally confused too, when he kept on asking her to repeat what she said to him. When the doctor asked him for his name and age, he couldn't understand the questions being put to him. The nurse seemed to understand this and repeated the questions, slowly and distinctly, and dad answered. Had the nurse and ourselves not been there to interpret for him, they could have put my father down as suffering from dementia.

My father was sent back home from the hospital by ambulance. My mother, who is not much younger than my father, is his main carer and the support they receive is dismal. I had to call in the local MP, Mike Gapes, before Redbridge offered even the most basic care. Dad, who can hardly walk, was returned home on a freezing cold evening. He was made to walk from the ambulance (he usually uses a frame or a wheelchair) without a coat and was frozen by the time he got into the kitchen.

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