"My mother has been in and out ..."

About: The Great Western Hospital

(as a relative),

What I liked

My mother has been in and out of GW hospital for the pass few months. In my observations I feel that:

Whilst being unable to remove lids and packaging from her food, staff have not assisted her at all. We were relying on other patience who were able to get out of bed and help her to ensure she was eating something. For a 77 year old woman who was bed ridden and has no appetite we were very disappointed.

Today my mother was due to go into theatre to have her second leg amputated; the first was removed a month ago, She has not eaten or had a drink all day. It is now 9.30 pm and the poor woman is still waiting. How can a hospital schedule to be so badly organised that a elderly woman has to endure this? I understand there are unexpected emergencies but surely if an operation is expected to take place in the afternoon and there is a possibility that it will not be taking place until very late that night, she should have been allowed something at lunch time. My sister has sat with my mother all afternoon and evening, wiping her face and watching whilst mum tries in vane to draw moisture from the damp flannel, the trauma this has caused both of them, as well as the rest of the family is comprehensible.

To think such an organisation that is responsible for the well-being of so many can be so disorganised is very worrying.

I must say the cleanliness of the hospital is fantastic, the cleaning staff are very thorough.

But there seems to be a big shortage of nursing staff, help bells are pushed and ring for as long as 12 minutes waiting for a nurse to arrive to aid patients, which I thought was very lax.

I am grateful to the staff letting for letting us push the boundaries of visiting time a little, but by doing this we would settle mum down for the night - toilet, wash, change of bedclothes, remaking of the bed etc., but in theory it saved them a lot of time and work.

What could be improved

More nursing staff.

More 'hands-on' staff (not necessarily nursing staff but care workers perhaps?) to actually help patients who are unable to help themselves with their meals, toilet visits, changing clothes etc.

On the board above patients beds it should state if they are unable to help themselves, and also, when being monitored as to how much they are eating, that should be written on there for staff to see as we also found they did not seem to know a log was being kept unless we said.

Story from NHS Choices

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