"Terrible end of life care"

About: Eastbourne District General Hospital

My mum unfortunately had a stroke which worsened her dementia and led to a decision to withdraw feeding and fluids which she could not swallow herself. The family were well informed and involved in that decision, although we had not been at all happy with medication decisions or responsiveness.

Once this decision had been made the doctor and nursing staff's attitude largely changed and I felt we were being a nuisance in trying to keep mum distress free in her final days.

This was summed up in our last two experiences on the ward:

1. The staff nurse shooed the family out of the ward waiting room and said that they would get mum "to the fridge", not once but twice. This nurse needs some training. Even worse, this was just before visiting and the family had to leave the ward in tears, passing all of those waiting to visit their loved ones in both stroke wards.

2. The doctor formally came round to certify death just after 2pm on Wednesday, but failed to do the paperwork before leaving at 5 for a 5 day weekend (Easter). This means that we cannot progress with registering the death and transferring mum to the more caring environment of the funeral home.

So now we need to wait until next week to register the death make arrangements for the funeral.

We would like to say how wonderful the care assistants have been in dealing with both mum and ourselves. They all shone.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Eastbourne District General Hospital

Dear Ms Ellwood-Wade

We are deeply concerned and saddened to read your feedback on NHS choices, about your mother’s end of life care, with Stroke Services at Eastbourne DGH.

This does not reflect the caring and compassionate service we aim for.

Your description of events is disturbing, and what you experienced is completely unacceptable. Please be assured we are looking into this serious matter as an urgent priority.

In the first instance, your posting has been shared with key senior Trust staff. This includes the Director of Nursing who would like the opportunity to speak with you and apologise in person. However, we appreciate that this is a difficult time and we would not wish to cause any further distress.

If and when you feel you would like to contact us, please do so by calling our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on 01323 435886, or if you prefer, they have an email address at: esh-tr.PALSE@nhs.net, where you can leave your details for our Director of Nursing to make contact with you.

It’s important we gather more detailed information from you. This will help us to investigate thoroughly what happened, and take appropriate action.

Only when you’re ready, we hope to hear from you, but please be assured there is no pressure or obligation to do so.

We send our sincere condolences to you and your family at this sad time.

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