"Unsuitable accommodation for confused elderly..."

About: Southmead Hospital

My 94 year old mother has just been discharged after a fortnight at the new Southmead Hospital. Of several hospital stays over the last few years, this was by far the most worrying, for her and for me. The medical treatment she was prescribed took account of her advanced years and complex problems; the nursing and care staff treated her with respect, competence and good humour; and the food and furnishings were fine. But accommodation in a single room with no staff close by was frightening. The room contained no clues as to its purpose or whereabouts, nor any entertainment. My mother could not remember that she was supposed to call staff rather than getting up herself, and staff response times could anyway be slow ( they are very busy). Twenty-eight of the thirty-two beds on my mother's ward are in single rooms ie there is only one four-bedded room, for which competition is fierce. There is no CCTV so staff cannot monitor patients, most of whom are well out of sight. Doors are left open so patients may be heard, which can be distressing. It doesn't feel secure ( and probably isn't - my mother came home minus her handbag and hearing aids). There need to be more multi-bedded rooms and more supervision , preferably by more staff. And TVs are needed urgently to help 'ground' the confused.

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Response from Southmead Hospital

Dear Anonymous – thank you for your feedback and for taking the time and trouble to post your views on your mother’s care. I apologise it has taken me so long to respond. The single rooms have generally been very well received by patients and some posts on this site confirm this. However, it is true that the single room design brings new challenges for the nurses, and senior staff are working hard to deliver best practice across the new ward structure that will overcome the difficulties you describe. The TV service issues have now been addressed by providing Wi-Fi access to all patients. Tablets will be made available for those patients without their own devices. Staffing levels are approved for the design of the new hospital and these are also reported to and monitored by the Dept. of Health. I hope that your mother's health has now improved and that her posessions have now been found. Kind Regards – Steve Sykes Advice and Complaints Team

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