"Hand hygiene? Fluid balance? Discharge planning?"

About: Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Gateshead)

My elderly mother has just been in the QE for over a week following a fall. When she was admitted she was severely dehydrated and found to have an infection, for which she required IV fluids and antibiotics She went from A&E to the Short Stay ward, Ward 4 and then Ward 24. On the Short Stay ward, she was not given a jug of water or a glass and I had to go to the shop for cold drinks for her. She was getting IV fluids but there was no fluid balance chart in use. On Ward 4, again the IV fluids and antibiotics continued but, again no fluid balance chart. When I queried this, I was told it was at her bedside - I informed the nurse that there wasn't a fluid balance chart there. It wasn't until her transfer to Ward 24 that a fuid balance was commenced. This makes a mockery of all the posters around the hospital that are emphasising the importance of maintaining and recording fluid balance. In none of the ward areas did I witness staff washing their hands or using the alcohol gel. The gel containers were empty in a number of locations. Staff connected and disconnected IV giving sets without gloves and without cleaning the ports, and left the end of the set to dangle in the air - haven't they had infection control training? Discharge planning was a joke. I was told that as she had been independent on the ward, she hadn't been referred to physio or OT. Nobody had bothered to ask her how she usually managed at home. Staff didn't know that she had had frequent falls or what involvement she had had with the community elderly teams, or what equipment was in place at home, and what she would need to facilitate discharge. Of course she was independent - her meals and drinks were being brought to her, the toilet was next to her bed. It was only when I insisted on physio and OT referrals that these were organised. I am a nurse. I know how things should be and they aren't as they should be at the Queen Elizabeth. I truly worry for all those other people who do not have family to speak up for them.

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Response from Queen Elizabeth Hospital

We're so sorry to hear that your mother hasn't had the experience that all patients should be able to expect at the QE Hospital. If you contact our PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) team on 0800 953 0667 or pals@ghnt.nhs.uk we can look into what happened further and try to ensure lessons are learnt.

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