"Great care but shockingly poor communication with..."

About: Colchester General Hospital

My father is currently in Layer Marney ward. He has had excellent care, but he has vascular dementia and is unaware of the severity his medical condition. My sister and I and my mother have all spoken to different medical staff at different times and told them that my father is unable to take in medical information and that they should be imparting all clinical information to me or my sister as my mother has mental health problems. It seems as if every new doctor who deals with my father is unaware of this and treat him as if fully cognisant, which is how he presents. To cap it all yesterday we were called at 5pm to say he had been discharged and they were expecting him to go back to my mother who is currently mentally unwell last night. He cannot deal with medication, he usually has it dispensed from a timed box yet they were going to send him home with boxes of pills. My father has been in hospital for two weeks and no doctor has told our family what is wrong with him and what they are testing for. But the doctors have been telling my father- and he then tells us that no one is telling him anything. Today we have worked out finally what they are testing for. Care has been really good, but communication has been shocking. No one has written in my father's notes about his dementia, we have wasted our time and breath keep telling different nurses about him., and trying to explain that although he seems quite articulate and says he understands, he doesn't. There needs to be a communication process in place between staff and with family for cases where a patient is like my Dad.

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Response from Colchester General Hospital

I apologise you’ve not had a good patient experience. We try really hard to improve our services based on the comments we receive from our patients, their relatives or carers. We would like the opportunity to discuss your experiences more fully and to apologise in person. If you are willing I would appreciate it if I could ask the matron to contact you. Could you email me, using the reference “General Surgery at RDEE4-Colchester General Hospital at 09/07/2014 15:04:09”, please? Many thanks Paul Searle, Head of Communications Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust info@colchesterhospital.nhs.uk

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