"Issues with blind patients in hospital"

About: Tameside General Hospital / Accident and emergency Tameside General Hospital / Diabetic medicine

(as a staff member posting for a patient/service user),

This story has been posted by Healthwatch Tameside on behalf of a member of the public. We have their details and will forward any comments to them. They said…

The patient finished up in A/E as they had had antibiotics for an infection which meant they had too much potassium in the kidneys which had to be reduced quickly. Admitted to Medical Assessment Unit. Patient’s partner gave them eye drops before being transferred to ward 43 on Friday evening. Patient is supposed to have 2 eye drops every morning and 3 drops every evening to keep pressure in eyes reduced to stabilise glaucoma. These are essential.

On visiting Saturday afternoon patient’s partner discovered they had not had eye drops because the doctor hadn’t written them on the notes of medication. Partner stayed all Saturday untill doctor came, to ensure drops were added to notes. Patient is registered blind.

On Tuesday one of the drops was missing. Replacement from pharmacy didn’t arrive untill Thursday. They then found original drops behind tablet boxes.

Patient is also diabetic. To help with this and to reduce the potassium the patient was supposed to drink a lot. Drinks were placed on over bed table but as they weren't placed in hand, couldn’t find them and so wasn’t drinking enough. The patient was also being given chocolate biscuits with tea. This caused blood sugar to rise dramatically and had to be given insulin for the first time ever. And blood pressure was fluctuating a lot which was made worse because, wasn’t drinking enough.

There was also a problem with urine bottles. Put on table rather than being given to patient so again couldn’t find them. There were not enough staff on ward so they were too busy to spend much time with each patient.

Most members of staff didn’t seem to know the patient was registered blind. On final two evenings one nursing assistant was very helpful and monitored how much the patient was drinking which saw the patient make a rapid improvement leading to discharge.

They should have clear signs stating a patient is blind – saying it is to do with data protection – this is not acceptable, as they put signs up saying they are diabetic.

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