"Concerns about cleanliness on stroke ward"

About: Royal Lancaster Infirmary / Older people's healthcare

(as a relative),

I was visiting my mother in ward 23 in Lancaster Infirmary as she had been admitted with having a stroke.

What I witnessed in there was disgusting. My mother was left one night to urinate herself because she wasn't taken to the toilet. Patients being ignored constantly, the toilets dirty all the time and one time in the day room I saw dried blood on the floor that was there for days.

And then there was a outbreak of norovirus and no visitors were allowed in for a week, but when the ward was open again they said it was all gone, but I myself witnessed patients being sick, and then they closed it again and reopened it, and on the day my mother left they closed it again, and my mother ending up giving it to the rehab place were she went.

Surely she shouldn't have been sent to a rehab unit if she had norovirus, then I myself caught it, and now today I've just been diagnosed with E. coli.

The place is disgusting and in a year they have had norovirus four times in one year in that hospital. I know that the only place I could have caught these illnesses is in that hospital because I haven't been anywhere else, or used any public toilets anywhere else, only there.

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Response from Royal Lancaster Infirmary

This type of diarrhoea and/or vomiting that spreads very quickly – especially within a confined environment such as a hospital. It also spreads very quickly in other close-knit areas such as cruise ships or schools. It is more common in colder months. Outbreaks are also common in nursing and residential homes. People who have norovirus have sickness and diarrhoea for around two or three days. They may also have a raised temperature, headaches and aching limbs. Although extremely unpleasant for the infected person the illness will subside without any treatment. It is very important to drink plenty of fluids whilst you have symptoms. It is very difficult for a hospital to stop the infection coming into the hospital environment, especially when there are high levels of the infection within a community. The symptoms can occur very quickly, almost without warning and can be spread to close contacts easily. However we take sensible precautions can help minimise the risk to others. When a patient has suspected norovirus ward staff are careful to identify it early and take necessary steps to prevent its spread. Visitors are asked, if they have had symptoms in the past two or three days to not come into hospital to visit. However they may not be aware they have the virus and outbreaks can be prolonged if someone else enters the environment with the virus.

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