"My Mum was nursed at Frenchay Hospital following a stroke"

About: Emergency ambulance service (Avon) Frenchay Hospital / Accident and emergency Frenchay Hospital / General medicine

(as a relative),

My mother had a bad year in 2010 and it culminated in what turned out to be a stroke in November.

Things I would praise:

Paramedics and ambulance staff were great.

A&E was efficient, kind and for once not overcrowded!

Ward nurses (105 and 106) were great at respecting my mum, her privacy and her dignity.

Things which could be improved:

Communication with medical staff on the wards. Everyone was very busy but it took two weeks, a letter to the consultant and being very persistent to get a direct conversation which turned out to be on the last day of my mother's life.

Nurses seemed understaffed which meant that some details of care waited too long like responding to buzzers, particularly at night and attention to details like communication device for a lady with a severe stroke which meant she could not communicate her need for toileting.

A couple of the most senior nurses were extremely defensive when approached for information regarding my mum's care or visiting outside hours when she was, as it turned out, dying.

Too often I saw food put approximately close to very frail and vulnerable stroke patients, then taken away when nothing had been eaten. Without proper nutrition stays are prolonged and recovery delayed.

These were the worst two weeks of my mother's and my life. Individual nurses made it manageable but I believe it could have been so much less distressing if there had been proper communciation with medical staff and an earlier discussion about prognosis and likely outcome.

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Response from Patrick Mulcahy, Head of Clinical Development, Great Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust

Thank you for taking the time to comment on your recent experience of our service and that of Frenchay Hospital.

Whilst it pleases me to hear that out paramedics gave excellent care to your mother, I am sorry that the subsequent hospital treatment that was received was less than you would expect.

I am sure that the hospital would appreciate knowing how the care they provide is viewed by careers and relatives, and perhaps and now that some time has passed you may feel able to write to them to bring matters to their attention.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to comment during what must be a difficult time for you.

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