"Found grandma halfway down bed laying in own..."

About: St Mary's Hospital

My review is going to be very mixed. My 89-year old grandmother who suffers from progressive dementia was taken in by ambulance on Monday 23rd November as she was delirious (not her normal dementia). The doctor who assessed her initially was absolutely wonderful: kind, articulate and paid immense attention to detail. I could not have asked for a better doctor. My grandmother has had the trauma of moving to a residential home only a few days ago which was something she has been terrified of, as well as being in hospital, so maintaining her dignity and respect, and being kind to her in spite of her cognitive deficits is extremely important to me.

When I found her in MAU the next morning (Tues 25th), I was very shocked. Initially I was told that I could only be there for 5 minutes as it was outside of visiting hours, however I said she could well be at end-of-life and I needed to be there to comfort her so she was not alone. I was told that it was still only 5 minutes until 2 o'clock. When I went into the ward, I found her with severe tremors, in the most awkward position halfway down her bed (appalling considering she has chronic severe pain from arthiritis). Her face was contorted with pain and her poor mouth severley dry and chapped as she was unable to take fluids--even though she was on a drip, no mouthcare swabs had been given and her lips were puckering in discomfort. She also smelled strongly of faeces and urine, and it was obvious she had not been attended to.

I immediately burst into tears and ran out to the reception to say how upset I was to find her like this. The receptionist came out from behind the desk and chased after a nurse asking for help, however the nurse--without looking round, just shouted "I'm doing drugs right now", obviously not knowing that I was present, so I made myself known. Bearing in mind I was in tears at this point, no compassion was shown to me by this nurse who clearly demonstrated they were stressed and busy.

The nurse did act upon my concerns immediately, which I was appreciated, and I waited in the corridor, still crying, as staff walked past me without saying a word. Luckily an auxiliary nurse took me to one side and gave me a cup of tea and the receptionist said I could stay as long as I wanted. Apart from the receptionist on that day and the auxiliary nurse, I found no professionalism or compassion on MAU.

Now my grandma is on Colwell ward where, thus far, the professionalism and compassion is in complete contrast. The staff nurse there has been amazing--making sure she has mouthcare and it is displayed on her notice board--and I am confident to leave her in their care on Colwell. I hope this doesn't change, but no one should ever have to go through what I did at MAU after an already traumatic week.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from St Mary's Hospital

I was really disappointed to read of the poor experience that your grandmother received on MAU and for the distress this caused you. I have shared this with the clinical team, so they can review your feedback and ensure lessons are learnt, and in the meantime I would ask you contact the Quality Team on 534420 if you have not already had the opportunity to discuss this with the staff directly, so that we can investigate the concerns raised in more detail.

I am really sorry that you have had a negative experience of our services, but am also happy to read that you are more confident with the current care your grandmother is receiving on Colwell Ward, and hope that you will allow us the opportunity to discuss this with you directly.

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