"Elderly Patient Care at Inverclyde Royal and Larkfield Unit"

About: Inverclyde Royal Hospital Larkfield Unit

(as a carer),

My grandmother was admitted to Inverclyde Hospital last year with a broken leg. She is a very fit, able person with an excellent memory. She had an operation on her leg and was in the surgical ward in Inverclyde Hospital for around 5 days. After these five days she was moved to the Larkfield Unit for rehabilitation and stayed there for 10 days.

During her stay in the surgical ward at Inverclyde we thought her care was generally quite good. Although, on two days she was left for hours without water at her bedside which I raised at the time with nurses. Another problem was that she was only given 2 pillows and one had to be used to prop up her leg. I asked that she be given extra pillows from the nurses and while assured she would get some she was never given any extra pillows to make her more comfortable.

Her stay in the Larkfield Unit which joins onto Inverclyde Hospital was not as good. She was only supposed to stay for a couple days but due to the local Council not having a care package set up for her, her stay was extended to around 10 days.

As her leg was broken, she was in a lot of pain and need regular pain killers. One night she rang for the nurse and it took the nurse 30 minutes to come to her bedside. She informed the nurse that she was in a lot of pain and asked if she could be given more painkillers. The nurse said she was not sure what she could be given and said she would have to ask a more senior colleague. However, the nurse did not come back to her bedside and she was left in pain until her next round of painkillers was due.

She was also distressed that it would take a nurse sometimes an hour to come to her bedside when she rang the buzzer for help to go to the bathroom. This was very stressful for her as the delay in time meant she was worried she would have an accident.

My grandmother was told on several occasions in the Larkfield Unit that she just a ‘boarder’ as she should really be home by now but the Council were holding everything up. However, when these comments were being made, she was still unable to walk without the help of a nurse. These comments also added to her stress in the Unit. Furthermore, some staff members complained to her and other staff loudly in front of patients that they were not being paid enough and their pensions were not good enough.

Noise during the night was another issue, as some nursing staff appeared to make no attempts to keep the noise down as they often talked to each other loudly during the night.

Another worrying aspect of her care was the quality of the food. The food in surgical ward of Inverclyde Hospital appeared to be of a far superior quality than of that in the Larkfield Unit. The food in the Larkfield Unit was often cold and poorly cooked.

Overall, I’m amazed that on the one hospital site our experience of the quality of care between two sections can vary so much. My grandmother is now home and making a good recovery but I am disgusted at the standard of care she received in the Larkfield Unit and the attitude of some of the staff. What made all this worse was that I wanted to complain to the staff about the care she was receiving at the time. My grandmother begged me not to do anything until she was out as she was frightened of what would happen if she was seen as a trouble maker. I was worried about this as well given the attitude of some of the staff we came into contact with and that if a complaint was made then her care might get even worse.

My questions to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde are:

Why are staff not ensuring that patients have water at all times?

Is there a shortage of pillows in Inverclyde Hospital and the Larkfield Unit for patients?

Do you think that is appropriate that patients should be left for up to an hour when they ring their buzzer for help?

Is it acceptable that staff do not return to patients who have asked for more pain medication?

Is acceptable that hospital patients should be called boarders because a care package has not yet been provided for them by the local Council?

Is it appropriate for staff to complain to patients about their pay and pensions?

Should staff keep noise down especially at night time so that patients can get to sleep?

Is serving poor quality food an acceptable practice? Would Health Board Senior Management eat the food that is offered to patients in the Larkfield Unit?

What systems are in place to allow patients to make a complaint when they are receiving care without any fear that their care will be affected by doing this?

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