"Some concerns about my inpatient care"

About: Russells Hall Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as the patient),

I had been booked in for an operation which would take a minimum of eight hours. The surgeon would only be doing mine on that day due to the length. I rang the ward the night before the op (Tuesday evening) as instructed and was told there were no beds. If it were not for me pressurising the ward to let the surgeon know immediately, I doubt they would have found a bed and the op would have been cancelled. There were two surgeons booked to do the op as well as anaesthetist etc. The staff I spoke to on the ward appeared to have a careless attitude.

I have many complaints regarding the care after my op and the seven days I spent in hospital recovering. I was bed bound for four days after the op and then could only manage to shuffle to the bathroom in my room.

- I had been nil by mouth since Tuesday evening. On the Thursday I had been given sponge/ water to keep my lips moist and be able to have some fluids. When I requested some more, they were brought in and placed out of reach.

- I was in my own room up the far end of the ward. On one occasion I continually buzzed for assistance but had no response. I kept shouting but no answer. Eventually after 1 hour I managed to use my mobile phone (husband had put it under my pillow) and phone a relative who works as a hospital volunteer.

She came onto the ward immediately (let in by cleaner) to attend to me and tried to find a member of staff. According to the cleaner there had been an emergency with another patient and there was no one available.

- There was confusion over IV morphine drip. One member of staff said it was empty and needed topping up. She went away and did not return. An hour or so later another nurse came and said there were two more doses left. I had been in pain during that time.

- A student nurse attended to me during the night as I felt nauseous and told her I was going to vomit. She seemed to "freeze" and I proceeded to vomit down myself.

- Two visitors from a local support group came to see me and they went to raise concerns to a member of staff. Later, a senior nurse from the ward came to speak to me regarding my issues. Her main concern was that my complaints did not relate to that particular day as she was on duty.

- By Friday evening no wash had been offered to me.

- One of my drain bottles smashed on the floor when the nurse was trying to re-attach it to the bed. I do not approve of the way it was cleaned off the floor (tissue paper) and certainly was not done hygienically.

- A monitor which was no longer being used beeped continually for more than two hours. I asked a member of staff if it could be turned off but she did not know how to stop it. I had to wait later for someone else to come and turn it off. I was in pain and could not sleep because of the machine.

- When the cannula was removed, I was moved onto oral drugs. A nurse came later that day with IV drugs. Apparently my chart had not been updated.

- I had six drains. My surgeon was not able to remove any as no recordings were made the previous day.

- I had to wait five hours for catheter to be removed. I was not happy for a male agency nurse to remove it as he had no chaperone. My surgeon always made sure he had a chaperone (not that it bothered me if he didn't). However the nurse seemed offended that I asked him to have one.

- I was trapped in the bathroom as one of my drains became entangled around a chair. It took about fifteen minutes for assistance to come despite me continually pressing the buzzer. The second occasion, no assistance came so I had to manoeuvre the chair out of the bathroom to the bed.

- On my last day I had to wait five hours for the last two drains to be removed due to lack of staff.

I came across some fantastic nurses and some not so. It was very obvious that they are short staffed and the staff that are on duty have a lot of work to do. Some nurses I believe lacked knowledge regarding my care needs, even some of my basic needs. On the day I was discharged, one nurse during the morning appeared to be carrying the workload on her own.

I only pressed the buzzer when it was an absolute necessity and then there could be a long wait for assistance.

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Response from The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for taking the time to comment on your experience of our hospital. We welcome all feedback and would like to assure you that all comments are taken seriously and acted upon as part of our ongoing commitment to improving patient experience.

Thank you for acknowledging that some of our nurses do a fantastic job. We aim to provide the highest standard of care to our patients at all times and we are sorry if we have not achieved it on this occasion.

To address some of the points you have raised, can we please apologise for the lack of response to your bedside buzzer. As you say yourself, staff are sometimes called away to deal with an emergency but this does not excuse the time it took for you to receive attention from the nursing team.

Timeliness of pain medication is of the upmost importance to us and we are sorry for any confusion over the administering of your IV morphine.

Staff are trained on how to clean up spillages which includes the use of Personal Protection Equipment such as gloves and an aprons and training includes a mandatory refresher course for staff. We are sorry if Trust policy was not adhered to on the occasion of your visit and have raised the issue with the infection and prevention control team.

We would like to assure all our patients that our nurses, male and female, are professionals who are trained in all aspects of patient care, including the removal of catheters. However, we do try, where possible, to accommodate individual patient requests and would not expect any member of staff to take offence at your request for a chaperone.

You have raised quite a number of concerns and we would welcome an opportunity to investigate your concerns more fully and would ask you to contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on free phone 0800 0730510.

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