"My mother's last days at Bournemouth Royal Hospital"

About: Royal Bournemouth General Hospital / Accident and emergency South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust / Emergency ambulance

(as a relative),

My mother was found on the floor at her home by her morning carer, she had been there all night, an ambulance was called and I was notified and managed to get to her home in time to see her in the ambulance and being treated by the paramedics, she was very distressed, not wishing to go to hospital and shaking uncontrollably, the paramedics were unsure what was wrong and did not mention a possibility of a stroke. I was told to visit the A and E in about an hour.

On arrival at A and E, I was ushered to a room and waited there for an hour until two doctors came in from A and E accompanied by a nurse and informed me they had given my Mother a CT scan and the results of this scan showed she had suffered a major stroke and basically there was no hope, they consequently asked me if I would like her to be resuscitated if she later had a heart attack. I asked them to explain further and was told by one of the Doctor’s that she was brain dead and not recommended by them to have her resuscitated.

I called the rest of the family, my husband who came back from London where he works, my brother and his wife who came from Somerset; they came to say their goodbyes. I was concerned that she seemed to be choking and the nurses told me that she had lost the motion of swallowing because of the stroke but …”do keep talking to her as the hearing is the last of the senses that stays with you.”

At about 5 pm a consultant who came to examine my Mother informed us that he was concerned that it could be something else than a stroke and perhaps a drug overdose/ build up of di-hydro codeine, that she had been prescribed by her GP and given in the correct procedure by her carers and myself. He consequently gave her an injection (some kind of antidote). I continued to sit with her and because my brother found it too hard to bear, he and his wife left, and my husband went to collect my 14 year old daughter.


An hour later my Mother recovered consciousness and began to talk to me – it was a miracle!! She was not going to die...She had not had a major stroke ! You can read on through her notes the medical events that followed...

The next nine days were a constant roller coaster, from the conflicting telephone reports in the morning telling myself and my sister-in –law who also phoned every morning, that Mother was fine, sitting in her chair and chatting - to when visiting her personally later, and finding her very distressed, not eaten, feeling terrible, the list of her symptoms she would tell us were endless.

In my opinion, the main thing about this terrible experience is what we witnessed of the conditions my Mother was looked after. I felt like there was often a lack of communication with Doctors, nurses, who knew what was going on, not actually knowing who one is talking to. I think there should be a policy when a Doctor can call the family and explain what treatment is being given, results of tests etc etc. If there is one then we certainly did not experience it! We really had no idea what was going on, what was the recent diagnosis, what were the next steps that were being taken.

Many days when I came to see her I found my mother lying in her own excrement and urine, the chair she had been sitting on was left with a soiled (diarrhoea) pad, the toilet was dirty with diarrhoea, there was diarrhoea on the floor, her bed, her bedclothes. This was not one day but every day.

One day on a visit, she was sat in the chair wet through and because my husband was with me she told us that a nurse had spilt water all over her as she was acutely embarrassed that she obviously had an accident.

She told me she was put to bed at times with her outdoor shoes on, a skirt was under her nightdress, and not at one time did I find that anyone had put her in a pair of knickers/pants.

One day I visited her at 2.45pm to my horror her trolley had a cup of uneaten soup along with her water glass and next to this - soiled incontinence pads on her trolley.

Another day, my sister-in-law visited and contacted me immediately that she was very concerned of her condition and her care, nurses making her get up to the toilet when obviously she was unable to.

I called in that evening at 8pm and found her very distressed and very poorly, I tried to call a nurse as she walked by but she told me she was too busy to come in, I walked to the reception desk and was told a Doctor had been called but he/she had been called away on an emergency, the reception nurses assured me they would keep trying to get the Doctor to visit her.

I managed to get a nurse to help me make her more comfortable in the bed, but the sheets were soiled and torn. I had to leave her with my last sight of her pleading and imploring with me to take her home, asking me why she felt so ill, and what had she done to deserve this.

We received a phone call at 7.40am telling me that my Mother had passed away, they did not seem to know what time or why, the person on the phone said that it was possible she had suffered perhaps a heart attack.

I had asked the ward receptionist on my departure that previous Friday evening to call me if there was any change, when I queried why we had not been notified immediately I was told it was because we do not accept anonymous phone numbers they were unable to reach me., they had tried my mobile but there were no missed calls on my mobile when I checked.

I do not believe they knew what time she had died and I have a feeling that there was not anyone with her at the time of her death and it also seems to me that the Doctor never visited her at all that evening.

I feel like not only did this Hospital staff treat my Mother with such appalling care, they let her die on her own, obviously very distressed, feeling very ill and without any of her beloved family with her.

How I wish I had scooped her up and taken her home because I feel like she would have died clean, comfortable, loved and cared for.

My Mother was of the older generation who believed constantly in their doctors, never wishing to make a fuss, survived wars, brought up families in times of hardship, worked all their lives, never claiming benefits, who all deserve so much in their later lives especially near the end of their life.

My Mother was a beautiful, elegant, charming, well spoken, highly intelligent, proud lady of the ‘old school’, thank goodness she was suffering with fairly mild dementia/Alzheimer’s, and I think hopefully could not remember each day she was in this Hospital.

Also I wonder why she was put in a male ward, although she was in a side room, is this acceptable?

I can accept it was my Mother’s time to ‘go’ she had a wonderful life and given so much but I cannot and will never accept the appalling care and conditions that I believe affected her death.

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