"Stroke unit Tameside hospital"

About: Tameside General Hospital / General medicine

(as a relative),

I have just found this site re the stroke site. I found my husbands treatment in the stroke unit so disgraceful that I stayed in a chair at his bedside all one night and I was about 10 weeks post hip replacement!

Among other things a soiled pad was left open on his bed trolley where he ate his meals, he was given laxatives when he had the 'runs' anyway, I think this was just because stroke patients get constipation. I was then handed very badly soiled pyjamas that no-one had rinsed off and a pair of rubber gloves to take home with me. The list goes on and on. I kept a diary which I still have.

I complained to the staff nurse and was told it was a 'lack of communication'. My husband was given fish and chips when he was on a soft diet just because he asked for it.

I contacted top complaints manager who would not meet me but spoke to me on the phone. I have noticed that he does reply to people on this site when they say something good.

I myself have been in Tameside several times and always had very good treatment it was just the stroke unit where patients were not treated as individuals. It made a bad situation almost totally unbearable and we very nearly did not get through it.

Luckily my husband cannot remember anything about his stay there.

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Response from Philip Dylak, Director of Nursing, Tameside Hospital Foundation Trust

Thank you for posting these comments. I am sorry you had a negative experience.

The posting was anonymous, but the criticisms were sufficiently serious that we have spent some time looking back at our records of previous patient/relative concerns to see if we could identify the specific set of circumstances involved. From the details you have cited, we believe we have been able to identify the right patient, and so we are going to take the unusual step of making a specific response to an anonymous posting. If we have not made the correct identification, then please accept our sincere apologies.

To the best of our knowledge, the incidents described happened nearly three years ago (June 2007). In response to your concerns about lack of communication, I have spoken to staff who were directly involved in your husband’s care, and they have assured me that an action plan for communicating with you husband was agreed and implemented. One nurse in particular has told me that she remembers spending a considerable period of time with your husband, and that she is confident that he was happy with communications.

Your husband was being moved back on to solid foods in a phased manner, and a pureed meal had been ordered for him. He found this unappetising and asked to have fish and chips (which was being served on the ward that day). A member of nursing staff removed the batter and mashed some fish and some chips, and this was fed to your husband by a member of staff who had been specifically trained in managing patients with swallowing problems. This was what he had said he wanted.

The soiled pad should not have been left on a trolley. This was a significant error, and the matter was dealt with properly with the member of staff concerned. Sister apologised for this failing.

Your husband had intermittent lose stools and constipation. Every effort was made to manage his toileting as effectively as possible, with your husband being given sufficient time on the toilet when he needed it.

Although you say that you kept quiet, the staff on the Stroke Unit have clear recollections of discussing all these matters with you.

Clearly, there is a risk that we have not identified the right patient here, and I would restate my apology if this is the case. However, when there are serious criticisms of the standard of care, we would always prefer to deal with them directly with the people concerned. If you feel able to do this, we would encourage you to make direct contact with the hospital, so that we can investigate these issues more formally, and ensure that any required actions are taken.

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