"Not respecting patients' dignity"

About: Southern General Hospital / Rheumatology

(as the patient),

I witnessed patients being dealt with in a non-dignified way, whilst an in-patient in Southern General Hospital in June.

The majority of nurses were caring and discreet in their approach but in my opinion a few (at least one on each shift I would say) were very poor in their dealings with patients.

One particular instance was during the night (early hours). The person in the bed opposite me was suffering from poor mobility and had not managed to call for assistance to get up and use a commode. She had suffered urinary incontinence and the whole ward was made aware of this because the nurse who eventually recognised she was in need of assistance said in a very loud voice "she has wet herself". The nurse then rather roughly dealt with her to get her up, change the bedding and give her a fresh gown. This woman had had a blood transfusion earlier in the day, and was getting IV antibiotics because of an infection. She always felt bad about needing to call the nurses for help but most nurses did reassure her that this was fine and she should not feel bad about what was happening.

There were other occasions, earlier in the week, when a nurse was abrupt with her or told her she would just need to wait for help. There were examples of nurses from all grades who I witnessed being unhelpful and making this patient feel very uncomfortable. Senior members of staff on the ward one day, down to and including auxiliary staff.

Before I left the ward there was another occasion where a patient was left by a nurse who had been tending to her. The patient was left sitting at the side of the bed, holding on to her zimmer and trying to stand up, with her gown draping open at the back to such an extend it was falling off her shoulders and revealing her chest to view from the side. The curtains were not closed and there was no nurse accompanying her in her efforts to stand for about 5 minutes (this was not because of any emergency situation that I was aware of). I needed to buzz on her behalf on other occasions to get someone to come to her aid as staff were not responding to her calls for help.

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