"My mothers care at the Orthopaedic ward of RIE"

About: Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh at Little France / Trauma and Orthopaedics

(as a relative),

My very elderly mother was an in-patient a few weeks ago in the orthopaedic ward in the RIE and every afternoon somebody came round with the tea trolley and she was given tea and a cake which she and the other patients always appreciated.

Following her discharge she was readmitted the following day to the Frail Elderly Ward. After a couple of days there I happened to notice that there was no tea trolley in the afternoon so I asked one of the nursing staff about this and was told there was no tea trolley in the afternoon. She said the patients got a cup of tea with their lunch and one at supper time but not in the afternoon. When I said that whilst in the orthopaedic ward she got tea and cake every afternoon I was told that that was because they had more staff in the orthopaedic ward than in the Frail Elderly ward and that nobody could be spared to go round with a tea trolley yet somebody could come round with a trolley of fresh iced water.

This was in the middle of a very cold spell of weather, it was actually snowing on one of the days, and these very elderly patients were expected to drink a glass of iced water! My mother has dementia and as such forgets to drink so has to be encouraged to do so but a glass of iced water is not quite what a 93 year old lady wants to drink.

I was then told I could go downstairs and buy a tea in the cafe which I did on occasions but somehow it does not seem appropriate that such elderly patients get nothing more than iced water to drink because there is not enough staff to make them a cup of tea.

Concerned daughter

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Response from Customer Relations and Feedback Team, NHS Lothian

Dear Owl345

I am sorry to read your concerns. I do understand that your mother would prefer a hot cup of tea to a glass of water although I am sure it is also important for patients to drink plenty of water and water will also be required for when patients take their medication. I have forwarded your post on to the Chief Nurse in the relevant service for her attention.

I do hope your mother is now making a good recovery.

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