"Stay on ward C54"

About: Queen's Medical Centre

(as the patient),

I had a four night stay on ward C54. I can't complain about the care I received as it was second to none and the nurses (apart from agency staff I came into contact with at the weekend) were very good, kind and considerate to all patients.

My gripe was the fact there were 2 dementia patients on both the wards. These patients screamed both day and night a deprived me and all the other patients of three nights sleep. This was bad enough for me but for the elderly people on my ward it was like torture, there is nothing worse than sleep deprivation when you are trying to recover from serious illness.

I was moved from a side room on the high dependency ward at 12 midnight and put opposite this dementia patient on C54, I thought I was still asleep and having a nightmare. I know dementia patients need treatment like anyone else but think they should be put in a separate ward or could they be sedated at night.

As I said at the beginning I'm not complaining at all about the care I received as it was second to none, but think something needs to be done with dementia patients.

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Response from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

Thank you for your taking the time to share your experience of our hospital. We are glad to hear that you personally felt well cared for during your time with us on ward C54.

We apologise if you were at all distressed or disturbed by noise from other patients on the ward with you. Unfortunately, noise at night on wards is an ongoing problem in any busy hospital, and it is something we are aware of and are addressing. We are trying various methods to try to reduce noise on wards at night, such as offering patients earplugs to use to block out background noise (we appreciate these may not have helped in your particular situation).

In regards to your comments that these were patients suffering from dementia or other mental ill health, and your suggestions for how they should be treated: where possible, we do attempt to group together patients with dementia so that disturbance to other patients is kept to a minimum, and also to enable ward staff to more easily meet the particular additional needs that these patients have.

However, this is not always possible or appropriate. The primary medical condition which has led to the person's admission may require them to be treated in a particular ward or area of the hospital which is not exclusively used for patients with dementia. Also, admission to hospital can be an especially upsetting experience to people suffering from mental ill-health, and some patients with dementia may become more distressed as a result of being alongside others exhibiting distressed behaviour than they might if they were being cared for on an otherwise quiet ward.

It is important to remember that as a hospital we have to a patient with dementia the same duty of care and obligation to know them as an individual that we have to any other patient. This includes adhering to clinical practice guidelines as to when it is appropriate, safe, and lawful to (as you suggest) sedate a patient because they are in distress.

Better understanding the care needs of patients with dementia has been one of our specific areas for continuous improvement in quality for the 2013-2014 period, and going forward, and we will share your feedback with appropriate colleagues to help them continue to make improvements in this area.

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