"Poor care at the Royal Bolton Hospital"

About: Royal Bolton Hospital

(as a relative),

My 80 year old step mother was admitted to B4 on 22nd May 2008 because her blood pressure was extremely high and her stomach was very distended. She was admitted to a four bedded ward and the other three occupants were very old, very poorly ladies.

During her stay the following observations were made by myself and my step mother.

On at least 3 days the ladies were not washed at all and the beds were not made. On at least two days the ladies did not receive a drink mid morning.

My step mother had to have a commode at the side of her bed because of the strong diuretics she was on and, despite asking four times for toilet paper she received none. I went and got some myself at visiting time. The used commode was left by the side of the bed, uncovered all through visiting times even though my step mother had alerted nurses to the fact that it needed to be emptied. When she was more mobile she still had to use a bedpan in the toilets as her urine output had to be measured. On one occasion a cleaner threw it away and on two other occasions the used bedpans were left in the toilets for a full day.

On two occasions my step mother did not receive the full meal she had ordered.

The doctor had said that she had to be weighed every day. This did not happen every day even though one of her medications depended on her weight to be calculated correctly (according to a nurse).

Twice my step mother was woken in the night by a wandering, confused male patient standing in her ward, (quite frightening for bed bound old ladies) and had to call for the nurse.

I twice observed that a seriously ill patient was left on the commode for at least ten minutes after she had rung for assistance when she had finished. We also rang for her but it was still ten minutes before anyone came.

My step mother does not seem to have been informed in any detail what is wrong with her except that she has high blood pressure (which we already knew) and that they weren’t happy with her heart. If the staff thought that she would not understand any explanations (which is just not so) then I would have hoped that they would have asked to speak with me to explain the situation.

My step mother was told that a social worker would come to see her before she was discharged. This did not happen and no-one checked with me that the home situation she was going back to was appropriate.

She was told she could go home circa 3.00pm on 3rd June and I went to collect her at around 5.20 pm. We then had to wait a further hour and a half for her medication to come from the pharmacy. During this time she had been waiting in a joyless “discharge room” getting more exhausted and distressed. The staff were apologetic but said that it was the system and it was just the way it is.

My step mother felt too vulnerable to make any complaints to the nurses and asked that I did not say anything until she had been discharged.

I would also like to make the observation that when my father was in Hope Hospital, Salford, visitors had to wash their hands with hot, soapy water and then use the antiseptic alcohol rub on their hands. This was not optional. A nurse policed the system and you did not gain access to the ward until you had done this. If you had to leave the ward for any reason you went through the whole thing again before you were allowed back in. At the Royal Bolton it is optional whether to use the alcohol rub or not and indeed many visitors and employees (porters, clerks, pharmacy assistants) do not use the system. My father made good progress at the Hope Hospital but was then sent back to the Royal Bolton where he later died. He was found to have contracted MRSA whilst in there. Need I say more?

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Response from Bolton NHS Foundation Trust

You have raised some serious and worrying concerns and we're very sorry that your experience and that of your step mother has been so poor. Your comments have been passed to the senior divisional nurse to look into. If you wish to discuss your concerns further please contact the ward or our Patient Advice and Liaison Service on 01204 390193.

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