"Poor care for my blind mother in hospital"

About: Victoria Hospital / Trauma & orthopaedics

(as a relative),

Over the past few years, my mother has been in and out of many hospitals due to her being blind, having heart problems and being diabetic and the care has been really good.

She was recently admitted to Victoria hospital in Kirkcaldy due to a suspected stroke and to be honest the care she has received has been disgusting. It was strongly emphasised to the nurses that she is blind, as well as being blind she had weakness down the left side of her body. However, she was still left alone for simple things that she struggles with, pouring herself a glass of water, cutting up her food and walking from the bed to the toilet. She was left unattended to walk to and from the toilet, and for some reason the floor was wet. When she went to make her return to her bed, she slipped and broke her hip. She was then left the entire day in her bed before she received an x-ray.

Over the weekend, the nurses were trying to force her to use a bed pan whilst she was in far too much pain to move. She was later moved to another ward due to her hip and whilst some of the nurses have been really good, there are still some who obviously do not care as much as they should for the patients.

On one day we visited, she was covered in food, as the nurse who gave her lunch failed to help her bring her food close enough or eat. The nurse left my mother without even cutting up her food and so my mother was left with no choice but to eat like an animal with her hands. Another day a nurse was doing a blood pressure check and then left her without taking the cuff off her and then left my mother while she went away for her break.

My mother started physiotherapy and a few days later one of the nurses was trying to force my mother to move on her own from the bed to the chair, my mother struggles moving short distances by herself due to being blind but has found it even more difficult due to the stroke and having broken her hip. The nurse was adamant that my mother could do it by herself and kept trying to force my mother to do it. Thankfully, due to my mothers stubbornness on the subject, the nurse decided to offer a zimmer frame instead of the hoist. Later when confronted about it the nurse tried to deny what had been said. So not only did she not treat my mother in the incorrect manner, but she lied to us when we have our trust and faith left in her to look after my mother.

My father and I are very upset and disgusted about the way my mother has been treated and appalled by the fact the nurses are incapable to fill out the board of information about her properly. They failed to mention that she is blind and that she is dependant on help when it comes to her mobility. We are even more appalled that nurses often fail to look at her notes. The nurse we confronted tried to argue with us that my mother is not a stroke patient, when it had been confirmed the day before.

If this is what the NHS considers to be good care, then I find it disgusting because they are not showing or giving the care patients deserve. Patients should be allowed their dignity in hospital, especially when they are putting their entire trust onto strangers to look after them when they are helpless. My opinion is that this shows that some nurses are doing their job very poorly.

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Response from Gordon Birnie, Medical Director, Acute Services, NHS Fife

Dear Kavanghpanda17

I am very sorry to hear of your mother's experience, I dont think that anyone would think that this is an account of good care or the care that we aspire to deliver.

I would like to have the opportunity to investigate this and if you would like to contact either my office or the Louise Ewing in patient liaison then we will arrange to investigate what happened and then to take appropriate action.

Dr Gordon Birnie

Associate medical Director, NHS Fife

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Response from Louise Ewing, Patient Relations Manager, NHS Fife

picture of Louise Ewing

Dear Kavanaghpanda 17

I have shared your post with the Director of Nursing for Acute Services who shares Dr Birnie's concern. She will do her best to follow this up based on the information you have provided; however we are very keen to speak to you as a matter of urgency so that we can try to resolve some of the issues you describe.

Please see below the contact details referred to in Dr Birnie's response -

01592 648153 - Louise Ewing, Patient Relations Manager

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Response from John Wilson, Chief Executive, NHS Fife

picture of John Wilson

Dear Kavanaghpanda17,

I was very concerned to read your account of your mother's experience, which is unacceptable. You will see that I have asked my senior team to investigate this as a matter of urgency and they have been in touch with you via the above posts.

Please get back to us to give the detail we need to properly look in to your concerns and put things right.

I will be personally monitoring progress on this.

Thank you for getting in touch.

Best wishes,

John Wilson

Chief Executive, NHS Fife.

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Response from Louise Ewing, Patient Relations Manager, NHS Fife

picture of Louise Ewing

Dear Kavanaghpanda17

Thank you so much for getting some one from the family to contact me. This was really helpful and I was pleased to hear that things have improved in the ward your mother is now in. We do however still want to follow up on the concerns you raised, as these are important to us.

I have arranged to speak with your family member again early next week at which time we will try to arrange a meeting.

Thanks again for contacting us.


Louise Ewing

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