"A deeply traumatic distressing experience for our..."

About: Leicester Royal Infirmary

What I liked

I liked nothing. Our Mother was admitted with a simple infection but was left unfed, unwashed, undressed and totally un-cared for. We are having to be at the hospital for 13 hours a day, fighting for each step of medical treatment and fighting a team of staff who have no desire to look after anyone with dementia.Since being there not once have they washed my Mother, we have taken on 100% of all of the care, we have been offered no real assistance. The most care and consideration has come from the lady who gives out the tea. If we were not there she would easily have died not only through the infection but also from starvation and gross dehydration. After complaining her charts were falsified to look as though they had been doing their job. Shame on all you staff! The treatment my mother has received has been tantamount to abuse and the so called care she has received in just pure neglect.

What could be improved

All levels of staff from consultants to nurses all need training in how to deal with dementia patients in a hospital setting. Ignorant, patronizing Doctors who have no interest in her as a human being and asking her questions not suitable for someone with dementia. What is more disturbing is that they take her answers as the truth! Nursing staff need to be taught to care and not just give filthy looks to relatives who complain about their lack of care and abandon the needs of those who require more than 5 minutes to feed.

Overall not one single person knows how to deal with dementia and as the future holds a rising dementia population I suggest NHS trusts and medical schools start to hand out the Ladybird book of key symptoms of dementia until they can implement proper training.

Anything else?

If we were not offering the level of family support for her care and fighting for the medical treatment she needs we are in no doubt that she would have died by now.

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Response from Leicester Royal Infirmary

We deeply regret the experience you describe that your mother had in our hospital. We are disheartened to hear that your mother felt that the nurse would or could provide appropriate care and this raises a number of questions which I shall address individually


Dementia training has started focussing initially on the older peoples wards, although it is open to all specialities.

The majority of the nurses on our older peoples wards have had additional training in the care of people with dementia and we recently had a three day training session carried out by a specialist dementia centre which was attended by staff from across our organisation.

We have also recently set up activity rooms on our older peoples wards, and have appointed a therapist who works with small group or on a 1 to 1 basis with patients who have dementia, to keep them stimulated and provide them with an activity that is meaningful for them.

As an organisation we have trained a large number of champions for older people who are spread between wards and specialties and they are taught to act as advocates for older people ensuring dignity and respect for this group of patients. Their training also includes knowing when to escalate issues if they are unable to resolve them at ward level.

As we have a level of staff turnover we are provide training for both new and existing staff over the next month, it should however be noted that as this training is not mandatory we will never have 100% of staff trained.

We are also appointing mealtime volunteers focussing on the older peoples wards, they will ensure that we have sufficient people to help our patients with their meals while they are still hot


Where a patient has capacity and thus the ability to make their own decisions, then the nurses and doctors are obliged to respect those decisions.

However if a patient has dementia and lacks the capacity to make decisions in their own best interest, then nurses and doctors have a duty to do this for the patient in consultation with the family. This would mean that even if the patient was refusing care, or pushing away food the nurses need to continue to attempt to feed or wash them. Good practice with patients with dementia would be to consult with the family to see if they would wish to be present when certain aspects of care are being given, or if they can suggest certain things which would work better with the patient than others.

Falsification of charts

All registered nurses have a responsibility to operate within their code of conduct, which specifically identifies the need to ensure prompt and accurate documentation.

Any falsification of documentation is an extremely serious matter, which can lead to disciplinary action, and when proven has on occasion resulted in the member of staff concerned being dismissed and reported to the NMC.

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