"Stroke ward: Patient care is not the best"

About: Rotherham Hospital / Neurology Rotherham Hospital / Urology

(as a relative),

I had reason to voice my concerns to the ward manager re a certain member of staff re her treatment of my husband. She tried to force him to swallow two whole paracetamols even tho my husband was on puréed food and was having difficulties with swallowing liquid. She did this once without me being present but told me on my arrival that she had had to dissolve them in water and he had spilt it down his top. This she didn't change, and then during my presence which she said I suppose I had better dissolve them and promptly spilt it again due to him being unable to swallow.

I had asked the doc on the previous day to prescribe liquid paracetamol and informed her that it was kept in his locked medicine drawer. She said it wasn't there as other patients on the ward also needed it. I asked if she also freely dosed other patients with prescribed medicines and she said it was only paracetamol. I asked her what she was going to do now the full medication hadn't been given and she said she would top it up. I asked how as she didn't have any liquid paracetamol to give him. My husband remained in pain. She said the pharmacy was shut so couldn't get any. I wonder what the other patients did who also could only take liquid.

She also ignored call buttons, even tho present in the bay when I was ringing to notify staff that another patient was trying to get out of bed. My husband has aphasia but was also trying to get her attention. She did not "toilet" anyone as she always passed this task onto others even tho patients had to wait. The ward manager said she had gone home as she was ill but would make sure she went on the training that was coming up. I was also promised feedback but the ward sister was then on holiday.

My husband was in considerable back pain but the paracetamol was only dispensed every 6 hours. I asked the doc about this and he said only 8 tablets in 24 hours. My husband was on 4 in 24 hours. Yet when we came home the dosage is 2 tablets 4 times a day.

Also my husband developed a bladder infection that he, I and a nurse brought to the attention of ward sister. His urine was creamy and he had puss leaking at the insertion of the catheter. On the evening I insisted that his urine was dipped when they emptied the bag. They said they had put a call out for a doctor but non came. My husband ended up on morphine due to the pain. It was distressing for him, me and his sister who was present.

Next morning I arrived early to catch doctors rounds and found the doc in attendance with my husband. When I questioned him as to why such a bad infection was not picked up earlier by the qualified staff he couldn't give me a reason. I said I would be asking questions and he said I needed answers. The antibiotics took till 1. 30 that afternoon to appear and was only collected when I offered to keep an eye on the patient who was always trying to get out of bed.

There are many more incidents during my husbands 3 weeks stay. I was called one morning to see if I could get in early as my husband was distressed and they couldn't settle him and that he had been moved back to bay 2 cos he had been trying to get out of bed in the night. My husband was paralysed down the right side. On arrival at the ward I found my husband sat in the chair at the side of the bed shaking and banging his foot on the floor. When I asked he indicated he wanted the toilet but his call button was on the locker and his "point" sheet out of reach. This is what had happened during night as well (another patient told me). This resulted in a note in his records stating he wife mentioned he needed his call button nearby as he had asphasia. (Words to that effect you can check the records) I think this was 2 weeks into his stay.

On discharge my husband was sent home with no night bag or stand for his catheter (the district nurse had to attend at home when I reported this) and his slippers missing. Very poor discharge. When I was informed on the phone that the discharge was taking place that day, I was told not to travel to the hospital as I was needed at home as an agency was coming to assess his care package. I had wanted to go to pack his things and also reassure my husband what was happening.

Patient care is not the best in this high dependency ward.

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Response from Stroke Association, Stroke Association

Dear Wyatt Earp

We noticed your post and thought you may be interested to hear about the work of the Stroke Association and how we may be able to support you. Stroke Association is the leading charity in the UK changing the world for people affected by stroke.

Our Stroke Helpline is there for anyone who has been affected by stroke in any way. You may want to know more about stroke and its effects, be looking for practical information and support, or simply someone to talk to. The Stroke Helpline is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm on 0303 30 33 100. You can also email us at info@stroke.org.uk. We also have a range of services across the UK, providing information, advice and support to stroke survivors and their families. You can find out if there is a service in your area by contacting the Helpline.

We were sorry to hear of your husband's experience and that you feel he did not receive good care. I hope that the hospital is willing to look into your concerns but if you are still unhappy, it may be helpful to contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). PALS is an independent organisation, there to ensure that the NHS listens to patients, their relatives, carers and friends, answers their questions and resolves their concerns as quickly as possible. You can telephone PALS at Rotherham Hospital on 01709 423030 Monday to Friday between 10:00am and 4:00pm.

Finally, you can also find lots of information about stroke on our website at www.stroke.org.uk. You can read about our services, read or listen to other people’s experiences and download all of our publications free of charge. There is news about our campaigns to improve services for stroke survivors, national and local events and our research programmes. You can also join the Talkstroke discussion group where you can share your experiences with other people who have been affected by stroke.

I hope that this is helpful and that your husband is now getting the support that he needs to make the best recovery possible.

Stroke Information Service


Stroke Association staff are not medically trained and the information provided does not replace information given to you by your own healthcare provider.

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Update posted by Wyatt Earp (a relative)

Thank you for the information. I was already in touch with the Stroke Association and talking over my concerns with a representative prompted me to post my story. My husband is getting his speech back and has indicated that he has more incidents of concern that need reporting. When he is fully able I will talk to PALS. I don't want anyone else to be subject to such poor nursing care. There's so much more I could have written and do need to do it face to face with someone who can make things change.

Response from Kerry Hollingworth, Corporate Affairs Officer, The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust

Hello my name is Tracey McErlain-Burns and I am the Chief Nurse at The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust. Thank you for your posting. I am sorry to hear of your experience and would ask you to contact our Patient Experience Team on 01709 424461 so that we can conduct a full investigation and provide a response to your feedback.

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Update posted by Wyatt Earp (a relative)

My husband will also be involved in supplying further information when I was not in attendance. I will email to yourexperience@rothgen.nhs.uk as soon as I can.

Update posted by Wyatt Earp (a relative)

We had a visit from two matrons in August 2014. We are still waiting for feedback on our meeting. I would like to see a copy of the report to ensure our comments were reported correctly and not ignored. Some of the explanations for the neglect with the nursing care were not adequate. Under staffing is not a good enough excuse. The people in charge of the under staffing need to get their act together ASAP. We were told that the member of staff that we had serious complaints about was already on their radar. So why did more patients have to suffer? We asked what would become of the member of staff and was not given a satisfactory answer. One of the Matrons was very compassionate and genuinely seemed distressed that nursing staff were acting this way. The other one defended the staff or should I say defended themselves as this matron was responsible for managing the nurses. The matron disbelieved many of our comments and we had to be very strong to stand against the matron. This added more stress and anxiety. The matron did say they were moving on but as this happened during this matrons reign. The matron should still be held accountable.

I would like to think things have changed in the ward and bad practices eradicated. But we are not sure we were taken seriously. Is the site just for ex patients to vent off and for the management to appear to be listening? We sincerely hope a cover up has not been done.

Response from Kerry Hollingworth, Corporate Affairs Officer, The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust

We are sorry to learn that you remain unhappy with our response to your concerns. Our Deputy Chief Nurse, Anne Crompton will be in contact with you early next week to discuss this further.

With best wishes,


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