"Poor patient care and discharge"

About: Borders General Hospital / General Surgery (Ward 7)

(as a relative),

My 82 year old stepdad went to BGH last Monday for gallbladder surgery. He had hoped to only be in hospital for one night but due to a post op chest infection was in for a week.

The consultant/doctors that he met during his stay were thorough and reassuring but the nursing staff we came into contact with were rude, impatient and uncaring.

My stepdad may well be a young looking 82 year old but none the less he is 82 and requires appropriate care. Sadly, I feel he did not receive the care he needed.

Nurses were very impatient and rude and made him feel as though he was a nuisance. At one point he rang the buzzer for help to get to the toilet, he was able to walk without difficulty but, was connected to a drip and was unsure of how to maneouvre the dripstand. The buzzer rang and rang and rang and no one arrived to help. All this time he was getting more and more desperate for the toilet so he tried to do it himself but in his struggle his venflon came out, blood squirted everywhere making a bit of a mess. Eventually a nurse finally arrived and instead of being apologetic for not answering his call for help she got cross with my stepdad and lectured him abrubtly, this upset him greatly.

Later that day my mother and I went to visit him and he was sitting with 2 water jugs as he had been told he needed to drink plenty. However he was very reluctant to drink because of the commotion that had arisen from trying to get to the toilet earlier that day.
 As I was leaving I had a quiet word with one of the nurses and asked her very nicely if she would mind just showing him how to maneouvre the dripstand to the bathroom. She assured me she would do this but six days later and she never has.

Another example was on his second night he was very shivering from cold and asked for an extra blanket. The blanket never arrived. There are many more examples of poor day to day care (or lack of it) that I could give but I wont.

Today my stepdad was discharged and that was a shambles. Having been in the hospital for a week and unsure of when he would be going home he was sat by his bed in ward 7 at around 11am this morning when he was told they needed his bed and they would be moving him to ward 9. He was carted off with his stuff and basically "dumped" by a bed in ward 9 and his stuff in carrier bags "dumped" on the bed.

My mother and I arrived for visiting at 14. 30 to find him very frustrated as he felt he had been just abandoned (his words) with no plan or explanation. To ease his frustration I went off and asked a nurse what was happening, she said she would find out and let me know.

After about 20 mins she came and told us that he could go home. She said she just needed to sort out his meds from pharmacy. Visiting time came to an end (16. 30) so we had to leave the ward and leave him behind because there was still no sign of this stuff from pharmacy and also no staff member around to ask.

We told my stepdad we would just hang around downstairs in the hospital and he said he would phone us when he was ready. At 17. 40 we were still waiting downstairs to hear from him so my mother went back up to the ward to find out what was going on. His stuff from pharmacy was apparently on the ward but obviously no one had bothered to take it to him and tell him he could go. So from my 82 year old stepdad being taken off ward 7 at 11ish and dumped with his stuff by a bed in ward 9 we eventually got to leave the hospital with him at 18. 00. So, in my opinion, the discharge was an absolute shambles.

My family is not one to make a fuss or complain but we feel that from start to finish this experience has been a dreadful one. I work in the Health Service myself therefore I feel qualified enough to comment on the dire lack of patient centred care at Borders General Hospital.

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Response from Susan Cowe, Feedback & Complaints Officer, NHS Borders

Dear ‘a very upset daughter’,

I am sorry and concerned to read your post. I am keen to look into what has been happening during your step-father’s stay at the Borders General Hospital and would really appreciate being able to speak to you to get some further details. If you are able could you contact me on 01896 826714 or by email: complaints.clingov@borders.scot.nhs.uk.

Susan Cowe

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Update posted by a very upset daughter (a relative)

Thank you for your response. I appreciate that you are concerned. However, my family do not want to speak further on the matter nor to raise any formal complaint. Our aim was to hopefully prick the conscience of the staff involved so that in future they would change their practice and improve the care that they give to patients.

Response from Evelyn Rodger, Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Acute Services, NHS Borders We are preparing to make a change

Dear ‘a very upset daughter’,

I appreciate and understand that you and your family don't wish to discuss the experience of your father further. Should you change your mind in the future please feel free to contact me.

There is no doubt that the care experience you describe is not one that we wish to provide for our patients, your father's experience was not caring, compassionate, nor did he feel treated with dignity and respect. For this I sincerely apologise.

I will ensure that every nurse in the wards concerned reads and reflects on your account in order that they are aware of the impact that they have had on your father and family.

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