"My grandmother's recent hospital stay"

About: Eastbourne District General Hospital / General medicine

(as a relative),

My grandmother suffers with advanced Dementia and was admitted to hospital following a fall at night and subsequent long lie. She was kept in the A and E department for 12-14 hours and moved to the medical assessment unit at around 9pm in the evening. The staff were not aware of any of her medical history, I advised them of this and completed a 'this is me' dementia profile so that staff could better understand my grandmothers needs and wishes as she was unable to express them for herself. The following day we visited her and she had been moved to a different room on the same unit and was very unwell. She was very sleepy and unresponsive except to pain and she was not being given regular pain medication despite this being requested more than once by family members.

She was very unwell for 3 days and we were unsure if she would survive. there was a total lack of communication from medical staff and lack of interest in speaking to family members.  Eventually she turned a corner and started to get better. However during her two week stay at EDGH my grandmother who as I mentioned has advanced dementia was moved four times to different wards, she requires constant supervision which was not available, staff did not read her care plan, she is vegetarian and was given cottage pie to eat despite the sign above her bed clearly stating she was vegetarian. Despite the 'This is me' profile being available staff did not read it as no one seemed to know anything about her. She was left in bed for days due to staff shortages impacting her mobility. Details of long term medical conditions were not handed over to each shift or ward change which also had a negative effect on the management of this (even now months later).

The HCA's on the dementia ward my grandmother was briefly on were rude and inappropriate to patients in their care and often stood in the corridors looking at their mobile phones whilst the RN's were running around working. Maybe staff re training was needed.

As a family we did not trust that my grandmother was safe or well cared for in the hospital environment which is not how it should be at all.


Response from Eastbourne District General Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to leave us some feedback about the care and treatment provided to your grandmother at Eastbourne District General Hospital (DGH) in May 2019, and the impact this had on you and your family; we do appreciate it. The Trust works hard to provide a high standard of care to all patients, and so we are disappointed and very sorry to read this has not been your experience. Please accept our apologies for the distress caused to your grandmother, to you and to your family, as this was not our intention.

The care and treatment we provide should always be underpinned by the values of kindness, compassion, dignity and respect, and these values should always be extended to a patient’s relatives or loved ones. We are acutely aware that an illness such as dementia can have a devastating effect on both the patient and their relatives, and it is for this reason why we have a Dementia Care Lead who is available to support teams and inpatient wards by providing advice, information and guidance on dementia and dementia care.

Given the feedback you have left us, we would very much value the opportunity to learn more about your experience of the care provided to your grandmother so that we can investigate what happened, and what we might need to improve on in the future delivery of care to patients with dementia. If you feel able and are happy to contact us to give more details, we would be very pleased to hear from you. Our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) can be reached by email at esh-tr.palse@nhs.net or you can call them on 01323 435886. If, after speaking to PALS, you would like your feedback more formally investigated, PALS can signpost you on how to make a complaint. In the meantime, we will share your feedback with our Dementia Care Lead so that she can be aware of your experience of dementia care at Eastbourne DGH.

We very much hope your grandmother is comfortable and as well as can be expected, and that you and your family are accessing and/or receiving all the help and support you need. We wish you all the best of health, and thank you once again for letting us have your feedback. It is comments such as yours that help us to evaluate the care we are providing and where we need to make improvements, and we do appreciate it as we want patients and their relatives to have hope, faith, and confidence in our delivery of care and treatment to the health population we serve.

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