"Lack of care for my father"

About: Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital / Cardiology

(as a relative),

My dad went in for angioplasty/stent; as a result he had to stay overnight. We were told over the phone to visit him on the ward from 2pm; when we arrived he had been moved to another ward.

We struggled to find someone to tell us why he was being kept in but where finally told to come back about 6pm and he should be discharged. We stayed until 4pm then returned 6pm only to find my dad in a distressed situation. It turned out that he had rang the buzzer to ask to go to the toilet (he was told not to get out of the bed on his own). He explained that a member of staff had come and turned his buzzer off and then left without asking him what he wanted; he thought he had pressed it about 20 minutes before we came. I then pressed the buzzer and it was answered after five minutes by a young lady who said this wasn't her ward but she would ask our nurse to come and see us.

Just under 10 minutes later the nurse came and we explained my father (who is 77) needed the toilet and the nurse insisted he had to use a commode.

They then disappeared and didn't come back! A further 10 minutes later I found the nurse and said they needed to bring the commode right away or my dad was going to mess the bed, the nurse apologised and said they had forgotten. My father was finally able to go to the bathroom.

During all of this the other nurse assigned to my fathers ward was sitting across the hall in a room with a cup of tea/coffee having what looked like a chat.

We were really concerned about leaving my father overnight on this ward but we had no choice as his blood pressure had dropped quite low and they wanted to keep him in for observation.

Things could not possibly get worse we though .... oh how wrong we were

We phoned as instructed at 8. 30am to be told to call back at 10. 30am after doctors rounds, I went in to work for a couple of hours and then received a panicked call from my mother. My father had called wondering were we were because he had been told at 8am by the day nurse he could go home and the ward would phone his wife (obviously this did not happen).

When I finally got to the ward, we asked for his discharge letter and there was none we were told it was too busy first thing in the morning to do stuff like that.

I believe there are a number of issues the NNUH medical management team and CCGs need to be looking at regarding patient care on this ward;

Lack of dignity and respect around patient care

Lack of communications between patients and families

Work practices within the hospital - namely discharge letters

Perhaps this is something the Director of Nursing could respond to as it is their responsibility.

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Response from Janice Bradfield, Senior Communications and Membership Manager, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

We are very sorry to hear about the poor care for your father, including the lack of dignity and respect and poor communication. We will pass your comments to the Director of Nursing and would invite you to get in touch with our Patient Advice and Liaison Team in the first instance. The PALS team can arrange a meeting with your family or advise you on making a complaint. To contact PALS, call 01603 289036.

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