"My mums journey following a fall at home"

About: Glenrothes Hospital / Geriatric Assessment NHS 24 / NHS 24 (111 service) Scottish Ambulance Service / Emergency Ambulance Victoria Hospital / Accident & Emergency

(as a relative),

In July 2015 my mother in her 70's had a fall in the house, which resulted in a bad skin flap on her leg. Due to my fathers bad eye sight, he phoned me about 6am, as he struggled to get her up. My father is in his 80's and waiting on a pacemaker to be fitted. I phoned NHS24, who took all the information, I was informed that I would be contacted by the out of hours doctor, which I was.

The Doctor which I cant remember his name decided not to come out and would send District nurse, as this was now around 7. 30am. 2x Night nurses arrived about 7. 50am, took a look at my mothers leg and said, that the skin flap should have been put back over her leg within an hour of the injury had happened. I asked if they could try, to which I was told by the District nurse in a raised voice, that she worked in the vhk and it is within an hour. She did put saline water over the wound but did not dress it. She phoned back the Doctor, who again did not come out and an ambulance was called.

The nurses left and left the wound undressed, the ambulance arrived in the 2 hours we were given. I could not fault the Ambulance crew who attended, they were very professional. It was the Ambulance crew who soaked Bandages in saline water and dressed the wound, which they were very surprised it was left without any dressing.

When we arrived at A and E we were well looked after. We were informed that my mother had a Chest infection which was causing her to have Delirium. The nurses attended to her leg and were a little disguste das to why the nurses did not try and put the skin back. I informed them as to what I was told by the district nurse, to them replying it would have helped but any time would have been ok. A and E did a fantastic job, my mother was then sent to admissions one, she was admitted after 30 minutes, due to her Delirium she started to pull out her cannula. I went out to look for staff but could not find anyone, a doctor was passing and helped she rang the bell but no one came she asked if I could go and find someone. There was not a lot of staff about but did find a member of staff standing talking to the domestic about every day life, she did come once I interrupted the conversation.

We were introduced to a doctor who was very good, but needed to attend a meeting but would be back within 15 minutes. We sat around for 30 minutes but the doctor did not return, by this time I needed to deal with my father who had been in the hospital since 10am and had not eaten or drank. We left my mother at around 5pm and came back the next day to be told she had been moved to ward 15, by the receptionist in ward 15. We had not received any phone call about her move.

When we reach ward 15, my mum was sitting at her bedside bewildered as to what was going on. No member of staff asked myself or my father about my mums likes and dislikes or her habits. We rarely saw a member of staff. When I spoke to staff I was informed that they were busy and short staffed, I asked to speak to her doctor, but was told I couldn't make an appointment and to phone around 10am, which I tried several times for the phone to ring for around 20 minutes with no answer. I felt I was pushed from pillar to post.

I noticed my mother was walking with a zimmer and a member of staff to the toilet, I asked if she had been assessed for the zimmer, to which they replied they were just using it. Once in the toilet, she was left alone. The support worker went to the desk to use her personal phone. I thought there must be another member of staff in the toilet with her, but there was no one as I heard my mother screaming as she fell trying to use equipment that she was not assessed for. She complained of a sore inner groin, she was sent for an xray. After that incident I noticed she was on incontinence pads, which she was not on before she was admitted to the hospital.

There was one evening there was only 2 members of staff on the ward as several bedside bells were going off no one attended to them, I went in search of staff as these elderly ladies were getting anxious to be told by staff they are short staffed. Very scary as this is a 24 bedded ward.

My mother was put into a side room due to her having Diarrhoea. When I went in to the side room she was sitting naked on the chair with the hospital gown wrapped around the arm of the chair, and with her having delarium she did not know what she was doing. On other visit I had to ask staff if they could change her pad, as I had been there for over 2 hours and no one came and saw how she was, her skin was badly breaking down, through out her time in ward 15 she was never showered.

I felt the staff did not know how to speak or interact with the elderly patients who could not do for themself. I got the impression they were a burden to the staff. My mother had several scans and xrays done whilst in the VHK but I have had no results, they insisted on telling my mother who cant recall any of the conversation.

I am pleased my mother has been moved on, she is now in Glenrothes Hospital, sadly due to ward 15 not keeping up with her personal hygiene, she has a catheter in situ, due to the blisters and burns caused by her incontinence pads. Glenrothes Hospital attends to all her needs and there is a marked improvement on her skin, and her mental health. Staff between WARD 15 at VHK and Glenrothes Hospital is like night and day. I felt so sorry for my mother as she has enough pain due to her lung cancer without all this as well.

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Response from Louise Ewing, Patient Relations Manager, NHS Fife

picture of Louise Ewing

Dear angry relative

Thank you for taking the time to share what has clearly been an awful experience for your mother and the entire family. I am pleased that you now feel your mother is receiving a good level of care in Glenrothes and will make sure the team responsible for care there see your post.

Norma Beveridge Head of Nursing for Emergency Care, which covers the areas you detail within the Victoria Hospital has read your posting and was very disappointed to read about your poor experience.

Mrs Beveridge says, "we strive to ensure that all patients receive the highest quality of care; however it is clear from your account that we fell short of this during your mother's admission to this hospital. As a result of your posting I have shared your experience with the senior charge nurses of both areas and asked them to consider the points you have raised and to provide assurance that these are addressed with their teams. I would like to understand more about your experience and would invite you to contact me, or Louise Ewing so that we can investigate the issues you have raised more fully".

If you would be willing to discuss the matter further with Mrs Beveridge please contact me in the first instance and I will make the necessary arrangements.

Yours sincerely

Louise Ewing

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Response from Shona Lawrence, Patient Affairs Manager, NHS 24

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Dear angry relative

Your posting has been shared with NHS 24 for our information. I read your story with interest and I was very sorry to learn of your mother's fall, resulting in an injury to her leg. Your story clearly describes a poor experience for her, and for your family. I am pleased to note however that your mother is now doing well and is receiving good care in Glenrothes Hospital.

From your posting it is clear that contact was made initially with NHS 24 and that arrangements were made for an Out of Hours Doctor to make contact. NHS 24 works closely with our partner Health Boards to arrange onward care when required and I do hope that you feel the call to our service was managed well.

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience and I note that NHS Fife have already shared your experience more widely. Should you wish to provide any specific feedback to NHS 24, I can be contacted directly on 0141 337 4582 or by email at patientaffairs@nhs24.scot.nhs.uk

With kind regards

Shona Lawrence

NHS 24 Patient Affairs Manager

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