"Nobody seemed to understand my husband's Motor Neuron Disease"

About: Newcastle PCT The Royal Victoria Infirmary / Colorectal surgery

(as a relative),

My husband was admitted to the RVI in August to be treated for a blockage. The nurse was told he had motor neuron disease. I asked if they would turn him over as he is unable to do so himself.

He was given an enema on the Saturday morning, when he had an enema I don't know if it's standard practice but he had to open bowels in bed.

He later asked for a urinal. The nurse went off and didn't come back for 45mins by which time he had to do it in bed.

He also had to ask for a drink of water, the nurse put it on a table and my husband asked for it to be given to him as he can't sit up of his own accord and she just tutted at him.

I don't think any of the staff knew what MND was as the same happened when a nurse told him to turn over when undressing him, he also wasn't pleased. My husband as discharged on the following Saturday in the early afternoon, he got home at 9.30pm. The staff told me 3 or 4 times that he was on his way then I was informed that the ambulance went to the wrong place. Two ambulances went for him at 3pm but wouldn't take him becuase he wasn't ready.

Despite being discharged in the early afternoon, RVI ambulances eventually brought him home and they said they were going to complain.

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Response from The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for taking the time to post your comments about your husband’s recent stay in the RVI. We are very disappointed to learn that his experience on the ward fell below the standard expected and would like to sincerely apologise for the shortcomings in his care during this admission.

The directorate manager has looked into your comment about the care provided on the surgical wards and would like to assure you that staff are aware of patient’s limitations and in particular with regard to MND and will do their best to support each patient on an individual basis. Once again, apologies that your husband’s specific needs were not met during this stay in the hospital.

When a patient is prescribed an enema staff are expected to fully explain the procedure and inform the patient what to expect. We will also try to ensure that privacy is maintained at all times. During the assessment for an enema the nurse should ensure that a bedpan, commode or a toilet is readily available. During the actual administration of an enema the patient is routinely positioned on their left side and a disposable pad is placed beneath the patient. The nurse will reassure the patient that if they are unable to hold the enema, a pad is in place should any leakage occur. The staff are then expected to assist the patient to use the bedpan, commode or toilet following the enema. It is clear form your comments that the staff caring for your husband did not follow these usual procedures. May I give an assurance that if these shortcomings had been brought to the attention of the nurse in charge at the time, they would have been addressed with the members of staff concerned on an individual basis as we take feedback of this nature very seriously.

I would also like to apologise for the lengthy delay waiting for a urinal. I would like to reassure you that this is not common practice and the issue has been raised with the staff on the surgical wards. The directorate manager and nursing staff would like to sincerely apologise for any staff “tutting” and acknowledge that this is not acceptable.

With regard to your issue about the ambulance transport - The wards can only book an ambulance into one of two bandings (a) morning banding is between 10.30am - 12.30pm and (b) afternoon banding is between 2pm - 7pm. When a patient is collected by ambulance staff, the ward staff should inform relatives by telephone that the patient has left the ward and is on their way home. Please accept our sincere apologies for any confusion that arose on this occasion.

It is difficult to investigate your concerns fully without further details but if you would like the Trust to investigate, please do not hesitate to contact Mrs Aileen Burn, Directorate Manager or Mr Paul Anderson, Patient Relations Manager on 0191 233 6161