"My father spent over 24 hours on a trolley in EAU"

About: Russells Hall Hospital / Accident and emergency Russells Hall Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as a relative),

My father went to the hospital on a Friday evening, feeling increasingly unwell. He had had recent shoulder surgery, and we were concerned that he could have a post-op infection.

While for he most part the care he received during his stay was fine, he spent more than 24 hours on a trolley in the EAU. He was admitted late Friday evening, and was not moved to a ward or, more importantly, a bed, until almost midday on Sunday, and this only after I spoke the the charge nurse on EAU, as I was increasingly concerned that he was still on a trolley.

We were advised that the delay in moving to a ward was because my father had had Type 7 stools, and as such they were waiting for a side-room to become available, which is understandable. What I don't understand is why there was no bed physically available for him to use in the EAU instead of a trolley.

His mobility was limited because his arm was in a sling, he was having to get up and down repeatedly to use a commode, was struggling to get any rest or sleep, and none of this was made any easier to bear by the fact that he was on a trolley. On a trolley he had almost no room to change position to get more comfortable, and the sheet he had been placed on constantly slid out of place as a trolley is not designed to use bed linen.

Why, if it is clear the patient is going to be in the EAU for more than a couple of hours, or indeed is waiting to be admitted to a ward proper, is there no facility for the patient to be given a proper bed in the EAU bed-space?

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Response from The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for your feedback on your father’s visit to our hospital. We completely understand your frustration at your father having to remain on a trolley in our Emergency Assessment Unit. We appreciate trolleys can be uncomfortable if patients are on them for long periods of time.

From what you have said about your father having a type 7 stool, he would have been isolated from other patients to prevent the possible spread of infection. He most certainly would also have been a priority for a bed in a side ward and our staff in EAU would have done their absolute best to transfer him to a ward. Unfortunately they are reliant on a bed in a side room being available.

Unfortunately as the EAU is an assessment unit, the cubicles are not big enough for a bed. We do have a four bedded bay in EAU but this would not have been suitable for a patient who needed to be isolated.

We do understand your concerns but if you would like to discuss them further, please get in touch with our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on free phone 0800 0730510.

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Response from Laura Broster, Head of Communications, NHS Dudley CCG

Whilst it is good to hear that the majority of the care provided to your father was fine; and whilst the actions of the hospital staff appear appropriate given the circumstances within which they were working; it would have clearly been preferable for a bed to have been found much sooner.

As part of our regular quality review process with the hospital we will look at how often this situation occurs and discuss this with them further to establish whether any mitigating actions can be taken for future cases.

Best wishes, Laura.

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