"Lack of compassion for elderly father or our family"

About: Stirling Royal Infirmary / General Medicine

(as a relative),

My elderly father has vascular dementia but we are one of the lucky familys because with my father it is progressing relatively slowly and he can make decisions and have normal conversations but it takes him a bit longer sometimes to process information.

When he has a chest infection it really knocks him for six and sometimes we need to do everything even feed him but after a course of antibiotics he is back to being himself which is chatty and funny. I mention this because the A&E staff understood and treated him with compassion and dignity taking time to explain to him what was happening and for this I thank them.

My father was moved to AAU and all the nursing staff, auxiliary staff and doctors but for the exception of one doctor were fantastic with my father. My father was then moved after a few day much to my familys relief to ward A11 where once again he had what felt like the best care possible by all the fabulous staff on every shift and came on leaps and bounds within a few days, which the staff also noticed. I can't thank them enough.

Sadly now comes my complaint about one doctor who acted with the same manner last year when my father was admitted overnight and said they couldn't get him to get out of bed and I had to point out he used a wheelchair. I will not mention their name, but all staff I mentioned the incident to could tell me which doctor I spoke of, so I assume they just have a bad bedside manner in general.

In AAU I was visiting with my ten year old son and this doctor asked to have a word, but only went outside to the corridor with the door open next to my father's bed, with my son beside the bed and staff and visitors coming and going. The doctor asked if we had discussed resuscitation in the event of a heart attack and when I said we had been advised to discuss this with my father and he was adamant that he wanted resuscitation they snapped rather loudly and forcefully that we weren't doing my father any favours and he could be brain damaged and left a vegetable.

I tried to explain that my dad wasn't like that normally but they were not interested. They said they couldn't get him to sit up but if they had read his notes and his butterfly notes they would have seen he isn't very mobile. I told them I would discuss this with family and went back in to the room but was nearly in tears.

I thought about this and went out and tried discretely to ask for more information but twice they ignored me and when they saw I wasn't going away they came over looking rather annoyed. I asked for more information to take to my family but it was like they hadn't read my fathers notes and I had to point out that my father didn't have a heart condition but was in with a chest infection and possible pneumonia, all they could say was, "oh! ".

I felt they had no people skills and not much in the way of compassion. I was also upset to see that a catheter was put in. No one told me and I turned up to be greeted with a bag full of blood on the end of my dads bed. When I questioned it I was told they thought it best and not to worry about the blood, that can happen but it will clear. It was a staff nurse on ward A11 who explained why they may have inserted the catheter.

This doctor seems to have an overall air of self importance and made me feel like I was bothering them. That said I will reinforce that all of the other staff from admittance to discharge were professional and caring towards not only my father but our family with the exception of one doctor.

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Response from Angela Wallace, Executive Nurse Director, NHS Forth V

Hello my name is Angela, I am the Director Of Nursing in NHS Forth Valley, thank you for sharing your story of your father's care and experience. I hope you can accept my sincere and unreserved apologies for the way such a sensitive and devastating conversation occurred with a medical colleague. I can hear that you were trying to protect your father and son who was sitting with your father from hearing this conversation whilst maintaining privacy for your father as visitors and staff were close by. You described that a similar experience in relation to communication occurred sadly on a previous admission, this was particularly difficult to read. I would welcome therfore the opportunity to meet with you to and agree the steps that can be taken to make sure we have listened and learned from your father's care.

I was delighted to read of some of the positive and caring care your father recieved and I will pass this to the staff today.

I can be contacted on 01324 566523 or Mrs Karen Maclure, Person Centred and Patients Relations Manager on 01324 566162

Yours Sincerely


  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful