"My Father's stay at Good Hope"

About: Good Hope Hospital

(as a relative),

My 86 year old father was admitted by ambulance after breaking a leg/hip in a fall. He waited on a trolley for 7 hours and was eventually found a bed. He was operated on the next day and I was told by a very worried and concerned doctor that he had heart, lung, heart, kidney and liver problems and was very poorly.

A few days later I was told he was being treated for pneumonia and as an advanced dementia patient although he has never had a formal diagnosis. After a month in which he had 4 falls mostly head trauma and now bedsores it was decided that he should be moved to an assessment ward. He stayed there for 4 weeks in a room with no TV or radio right opposite the ward sisters desk. He still managed to have another 4 falls. I watched him take over 40 steps before he changed wards but he was forced to use bed pans and bottles even though he could walk to the toilet. I would assume because it was less trouble. He sat there with 2 black eyes, bruised temple with a gash on the back of his head and took pictures with his great grand daughter and never complained.

Eventually I asked them to discharge dad as he was suffering there. I asked to see the physio so I could observe his mobility and to my horror I found he had received none on this ward as they could not find his slippers, shoes or gripper socks. They made me go home and get his shoes.....but strangely his gripper socks had been on the top shelf of his bedside cabinet. Secondary excuse was that dads dementia meant he was prone to falls.

When he did finally return home it was with shoddy notes, no dementia meds, no paperwork for his falls or treatment and he was acting very strangely. He didn't recognize me. 5 days later the morphine patch (I wasn't aware of) came off in the bath and dad had 3 days horrors without sleep.

It is now 2 months later and I have my dad back. Zero falls in 8 weeks. He uses the toilet himself attended but not assisted. He has put on 5 pounds in weight. His short term memory is not good but he is content because he has someone who listens and cares. He can drink now. All the Chamomile tea he wants.....strange tho, he had to be put on a drip he was so dehydrated. No one would listen when he told them there were 2 boxes in his drawer and he only drinks Chamomile tea.

I on the other hand I am not doing so well. 24 hour carer, 7 days a week, no breaks, no sleep. Although he still has no dementia diagnosis I cant leave his side. I couldn't trust anyone else to care for him after this but it will only be so long before exhaustion sets in. The hospital wants me to pay to get a copy of his notes that include his stay and I still have no closure. All I want is to find out what worked for dad as he is allergic to penicillin and now has a chest infection.

PALS declared under 400 falls in its trust last year. If that is true and accurate my dad made up 2% of that figure and the man in the next bed had 4 so that makes up 3% between the pair of them in just 2 months......and so strange I didn't get any written notification of his falls.

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Response from Marie Helebert, Patient Services Officer, Patient Services, Heart of England Foundation Trust

Dear Waz

Thank you for your post detailing your experience as a relative, and your concerns about your father's experience as a patient.

I would like to reassure you that we take seriously any issues our patients or their families raise with us and we value your feedback. It enables us to identify where things work well and celebrate that, but more importantly, identify when and where things have gone wrong, acknowledge and apologise, and make changes and improvements to prevent repetition in the future.

I am extremely concerned to read your post and would very much like to speak to you to discuss this further. This is so I can obtain some more information from you and highlight your father's experience to senior nursing and clinical management.

I can be contacted either by telephone on 0121 424 0808 or by email: marie.helebert@nhs.net

I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

I hope this is acceptable.

With kind regards

Marie Helebert

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful