"Single patient rooms are dangerous"

About: Southmead Hospital

Have been unfortunate enough to have cause to visit on a daily basis for the last 5 weeks. I need to make it clear I have nothing but admiration for the majority of staff who work here. I believe this hospital is fine for short stay patients 1-5 days, any longer than this and the cracks really begin to show. Single rooms means patients can be left hours without seeing or talking to another person. Staff are meant to do a "walk through" hourly but this simply doesn't happen. An unconscious patient easily missed as sleeping. Four bed wards reserved mainly for very elderly who are at risk of fall. Suspect fall rate will now massively increase in single rooms. During the past 5 weeks I have spoken to other visitors who have all had concerns about the need to stay at the hospital almost full time to ensure their relative is not forgotten or overlooked. Whilst I appreciate very poorly patients have no need for TV I personally think this has contributed to the very low mood and confusion as to even what day it is for my relative who is only in their 20's, state of the art hospital but no TV available and no wifi signal available for patients own devices!! Two weeks ago relative felt up to having wash asked staff for some towels as had mistakenly left own towels in car to be told none available would have to use a pillow slip when I replied that this was not good enough was offered a sheet instead!! Wrote formal letter regarding this matter but to date no reply received. We don't come into hospital with gate numbers expecting a "mini break" experience with nice pictures on the walls and single ensuite rooms, we come expecting our condition to be closely monitored and staff able to react quickly when needed rather than relatives feeling worried and concerned about their relatives safety when they are left alone in these rooms. Hospital fine for quick in and out stay but for families like ours who have frequent long lengthy stays this new hospital has proved to be a lonely and frightening experience.

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Response from Southmead Hospital

Dear Anonymous Apologies in the delay for responding to your comments. I am pleased to hear that your experience of care from the majority of staff is positive. However, I am sorry to hear that your experience of the new facilities has been disagreeable. The layout and design of patient rooms has been very carefully considered in order for us to meet numerous standards of care, for example to improve infection control and also to address some of the problems previously experienced by patients, for example by reducing disturbance when patients are trying to rest and to increase privacy. I am sorry to hear that your relative felt isolated and lonely. We are working hard to get wi-fi access set up and in the meantime have suggested that patients pack a small radio. We continue to closely monitor falls and have been focusing on improving compliance with hourly walk-throughs. I have forwarded your concerns to the supervisory sisters’ meeting, which is held weekly. If you advise us of the area concerned (complaints@nbt.nhs.uk) we will support that team to consistently achieve compliance with agreed practice. I was concerned to hear about the staff response to your relative’s request for a towel and I appreciate that you have taken the extra time to write formally on this matter. I can assure you that this will be followed up with the staff concerned and can only apologise that you have not yet received an acknowledgement of your letter. If you have not already detailed the ward and date of the incident please contact us at complaints@nbt.nhs.uk to ensure that the matter is raised with the appropriate teams. Kind Regards – Steve Sykes Advice and Complaints Team

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