"Staff need to communicate more effectively with each other"

About: Darent Valley Hospital

(as a relative),

My wife received a telephone call from the care home where her mother is resident because she has Dementia. They told her that her Mother had a fall and was being taken to Darent Valley A&E.

My wife said she would meet them at the Hospital and called me I also left Work to go directly to the Hospital. When I arrived I was told that they had gone to the Xray department I went to the Xray Department and asked at Reception if they were here, I was told they may well be waiting in the waiting area. I looked and could not see them so went back to Reception and was told that they had gone back to A&E.

I went back there and was told that they were still in Xray. I went back to Xray and spoke with the Receptionist, ho told me rather curtly that they do not know who has been seen and who has left the Department.

I went back to A&E I spoke with a nurse who told me that they were in Xray and he would help me to locate them at which point we met them coming back from Xray.

They were with a Radiographer who to me did not look very happy. My Wife was very upset and when I calmed her down, she told me that she went with Mother to the Xray Department and that Mother was in considerable pain and she was unable on her own to calm her down which she was finding it all very upsetting.

One of the Radiographers saw her distress and moved them up the waiting chain in order to speed matters along, however she was unable to properly complete the Xrays as mother was uncompliant due to her distressed state. The Radiographer phoned A&E to say that she was bringing them back as without pain medication or sedation she would be unable to complete the task.

Back in A&E we found that each person who came to attend on Mother had to be told of her Dementia. We found this quite frustrating as it seemed to us that none of the staff were briefing each other as to patient history and that we as her carers would be the best people to supply that information. When the doctor attended on mother we informed her of the situation as she also was unaware of these facts. However she did take this on board and we found her to be totally professional in her treatment of her Patient. She ordered a Pain Injection as Mother would not take any Medication orally. This finally had the effect of calming her down and the whole situation became much more managable. We were left with an overall impression that if staff communicated more effectively it could have a better effect for both the Patient and carers where the patient has special needs.

Mother was then moved to a ward we found this experience even worse than that of A&E we again had to explain to staff about Mother. There seemed to be no effective hand over of the Patient, we found none of the Staff to be at all reassuring, however she was placed in bed and seemed to us at this point to be comfortable and reasonably pain free, so we left the Hospital to get my Wife’s father so that he could be with Mother.

When we returned at visiting time we Found Mother to be in Distress and in Pain, this in Turn caused my Wife’s Father to become distressed, so my Wife went to the Nurses Station to request that they attend and adminster some pain relief. There was not much concern shown nor was there any comfort offered to allay any fears that we might have. Instead I heard the Nurses making a joke of the fact that they had misspelt Mothers Name. This made me angry and I registered my displeasure with them. We did receive an apology for this but for me the damage was done. I felt that if the Staff were not able to get this right then how could they possibly get her care right?

They said they would give her pain tablets and we again had to tell them that she would not take them especially in her distressed state, so they said they would administer the drugs orally through a syringe. We told them that we did not think that this would work and we were proved right - most of it went down her front. We suggested that it would be more appropriate for her to receive a pain injection as they had done this in A&E. Eventually a Doctor prescribed the Drugs to be adminstered via a Drip feed which worked.

I would conclude by stating that we are sure that not everyone has a negative experience of this hospital and we have since met some very caring members of staff who do there very best for both the Patient and their Families. The operation that Mother is to have was cancelled today and we understand why this sometimes happens. What we want is for our elderly parents to be treated according to their needs and with some dignity, and that we as their carers are listened to with respect. We would like staff to effectively communicate this information along the chain as the patient passes along it.

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