"Everyone is an individual and needs to be treated with respect"

About: Derriford Hospital / Pain Management Derriford Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics Liskeard Community Hospital

(as a relative),

My Mum ( who is 88 ) had a serious leg ulcer which needed an emergency admittance to Derriford hospital and which because of the severity of the wound required her to stay in hospital for several months.

During her stay she saw 2 Consultants from different disciplines who were always positive whilst being realistic. Mum eventually asked for an amputation because she was in terrible pain and her general health was suffering.

After her op she had excellent nursing care especially with regard to pain management. She had discussions with 3 consultants about her future, , each of them took time to talk to her about her wish to get walking again. This activity has been a major part of Mum's life and she is determined not to be "stuck " in a wheelchair, as she sees it. They encouraged her to believe she could walk again and told her she could live another 10 years. Imagine her dismay then on her rehabilitation time at Liskeard hospital when confronted by a consultant who told her she was 88 yrs old and therefore shouldn't expect too much. His general conversation included phrases such as "Managing your expectations and "We don't want you to be disappointed". Worse still was how this attitude appeared to permeate the attitudes of the staff, who at times were condescending and bossy towards Mum. One member of staff was seen to manhandle another patient who subsequently made a complaint.

Mum was in a weakened state after her op, having lost a stone in weight. Her response at first to questions were weak but she was conversational. The staff didn't take the time to find out just how determined a person she is and made assumptions about her previous lifestyle. They labelled her forgetful and confused (which she isn't) and was told when she was leaving hospital that she was going to forget to take her medication

The nurses were difficult to find on the ward and gave very short answers to my questions, and in a terse manner. As a visitor I felt unwelcome.

The management of Mum's phantom pain was not acceptable nursing care. The specialist pain management nurse at Derriford told Mum that she needed pain relief as soon as it started in order that phantom pain be minimised. Mum frequently waited over 20 mins for medication at Liskeard. I talked to the Sister about this and explained what the specialist pain nurse had said, but she told me there were a lot of patients in pain on her ward and Mum would have to wait her turn. I have to say that in Derriford there were more patients than Mum's ward at Liskeard and with more complex needs but she was always seen promptly for pain. It was in her nursing care plan.

Luckily Mum was seen by a wonderful team of physios at Liskeard. They constantly tell us how amazing Mum is, how strong and what good balance she has. With their support she is very close to walking with her new leg. Her goal is to take her dog out for a walk along the lanes. She has been completely independent since leaving hospital and doesn't have any carers. I visit her once a month and the house is clean and tidy. She has managed all her bills and even bought a new car. This is a far cry from how the nurses anticipated her life. As she left hospital one of them said they expected to see her again soon.

In conclusion I would just like to make the point that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, as the saying goes. Everyone is an individual and needs to be treated with respect. You just never know unless you take the trouble to find out.

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Response from Genny Turner, Senior Quality Facilitator, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Good afternoon,

I am so pleased to hear that your mother has made such a great recovery.

Thank you for raising our concerns and wonder if you would be kind enough to give our PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) Team a call on 01752 439884 or email plh-tr.PALS@nhs.net,

Our team will be able to investigate your concerns further for you.

Best wishes


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Response from Liskeard Community Hospital

Firstly, apologies for the delay in responding to your original comment. Please note that Matron takes this feedback extremely seriously and does not want any patient / family member, or carer, to ever feel the way you have. She would be very welcome to meet / discuss with you directly and her details are Louise Martin, Matron, 01579 373515.

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