"If I had to go in again, based on this experience,..."

About: Royal Lancaster Infirmary

What I liked

I was admitted for orthopaedic surgery, to complete emergency treatment from 2010.

A bed was available as per the agreed admission date and time, though it took more than one phone call to confirm this.

On the ward (36) the staff were, without exception, helpful and caring, and did everything possible to make my stay comfortable as an in-patient. My background (insulin dependent diabetes) was taken into account, and I as allowed to manage my own blood sugars and insulin, and the necessary protocols for management of insulin dependency before and during surgery were set up in good time and were effective (but see below).

The food was, generally, of a good standard, and fully met my dietary requirements relating to sugar content, etc. However, though the soups were of a very high standard and also very tasty, they seemed to have quite a high salt content? Also any out of course needs for a snack or drink were arranged when needed, and this was greatly appreciated. This was particularly so after return from theatre, when a light snack of toast and tea was provided as soon as I said I felt ready to eat.

All in all, this was a much less traumatic experience than my last admission, which admittedly was an emergency. This was largely as I did know more fully what to expect (and indeed what not to expect).

Sincere thanks to all the team on ward 36.

What could be improved

Sadly, the nurse who was setting up the insulin machine needed for surgery had to check with several colleagues to have it set up correctly, as it would not start, and possibly some training on the different types of machine in use would be useful, as at one stage, she was going to try to get a different type with which she was more familiar.

Also the staffing levels particularly at night were borderline for the number of patients on the ward, and on one night, there was an incident which tied up one of the staff for some hours, and the pressures on the remaining staff were then very high. One extra staff member would have been all that was needed to ensure adequate care and attention were offered to those patients who needed it.

Anything else?

A bit more information about the actual routines and their times could be given to new patients on admission - there was no leaflet explaining this on my bed this time, and my it was not drawn to my attention last time. All that is needed is a simple sheet showing the anticipated meal times, drug rounds, and likely times for lights out, and lights back on.

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Response from Royal Lancaster Infirmary

Thank you for your complimentary and constructive comments about your recent stay on ward 36 at Royal Lancaster Infirmary and for taking the time to let us know about your experience. Our ward staff and nursing teams will be very pleased to hear about what you have said and a copy of your comments will be passed onto the ward manager and the Director of Nursing. We will also pass on your comments regarding additional communication and information about ward routines and timetables, as well as training needs for use of equipment and the level of staffing on the ward.

Thank you too for your feedback about the standard of food and nutrition and how it met your dietary needs. We recognise the importance of good nutrition in supporting the recovery process, healing and maintenance of health in our patients. We have passed your comments on to our catering team and dieticians as well.

We place great value in the fact that local people continue to choose our hospitals and we openly encourage patients and visitors to give us their feedback. This will enable us to improve the services we offer and the experience our patients have whilst in our hospitals.

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