"Hungry and thirsty, incomplete care."

About: St Helier Hospital / Accident and emergency

(as a relative),

Our family collected mum from the acute assessment unit by A&E at St Helier Hospital. Having been admitted nearly 24 hours earlier following a fall, we discovered mum had not been offered any food the evening before, overnight and no breakfast either. Mum had to ask a nurse for something to eat and some water to drink mid morning.

Of note mum says a man admitted to the bed opposite (no single sex accommodation? ) had also gone without food.

We are alarmed that blood tests and other investigations into her condition may have been compromised by her involuntary starvation. Having got mum home today it was clear she needed extra food and drink that we prepared. Had mum been on her own on discharge we are concerned she could have fallen again simply because of being dehydrated and having to prepare food.

Given the emphasis on nutrition and hydration we are surprised this aspect of her care was so lacking.

In addition a consultant suggested mum walks with a stick in future, a suggestion based on nothing more than a whim when it is likely the collapse was related to cardiac trouble. If St Helier hospital were serious about her fall (from sitting on a chair) we would expect a falls team referral, and at least follow up by a physiotherapist to check her mobility.

Based on this experience we are concerned enough to say we'd like to know the situation for older people with regard food and drink in this unit is improved. It would seem the busy-ness of the hospital led to this situation and the less than complete consideration by the consultant.

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Response from St Helier Hospital

Thank you for sharing this feedback with us. We are concerned to hear about your mother's experience and would like to be able to look into the issues you raise further. If you would like this to happen, please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on 020 8296 2508 or by emailing PALS@esth.nhs.uk. Please note, PALS office hours are 9.30am-4.30pm, Monday-Friday.

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