"Crisis on Admissions ward.3"

About: University Hospital Of North Durham

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Admissions Ward 3 is under crisis. I spent 2 nights and 1 day there with my 83 year old mother who was in final stages of heart failure and was not admitted onto ward 6 until 7 hours before her death thanks to the intervention of her Cardiac consultant. I did not leave my mother or sleep for 72 hours on ward 3 as I was so concerned about her care. There was a shortage of staff, and I overheard one nurse state she needed properly qualified staff. In a small ward of 4 elderly patients, there was no named nurse, no toilet tissue; I toileted my mother. One elderly lady was left exposed on top of her bed where she had defecated and was attempting to clean herself with kleenex. No one responded to her buzzer for a long time. The lady opposite fell out of bed twice and my intervention prevented a 3rd occurring. The bed rails are too short and the elderly, including my mother are able to get to the edge of the beds and fall. My mother was not washed at all during her 72 hours. I washed her. She had dressings on her legs for oedema and these were not checked or changed.. She required oxygen and this was not checked. I kept replacing it when she accidentally removed it. When transferred onto ward 6 which was an oasis of calm and care, the porter and nurse put my mother into her new bed after transporting her on a bed with portable oxygen and failed to connect her to the new supply on ward 6. We found her changing colour and called for ward 6 staff who acted immediately. BP's were checked and bloods taken on ward 3 but there was no evidence of knowledge by the staff of my mothers medical conditions and they lay her flat despite my information regarding curvature of the spine and breathing difficulties. Personal care and dignity for the patients as well as my mother were lacking. We along with 2 other ladies were moved at midnight from a ward of 3 to create a mens ward and distributed throughout other small wards within ward 3. The management of the ward ,seemed chaotic, a shortage of staff, a lack of individual patient knowledge and lack of personal care and dignity summarised my mother's experience who sadly died on ward 6 where thankfully she received care, dignity and calm in her final hours. I am certain the vast majority of nurses are caring , competent and knowledgeable. However, they have to deal with a wide variety of conditions while patients await bed s on appropriate wards. I am certain my mother would have died earlier and without dignity were I not at her side throughout her stay. Heaven help those alone. We need more staff, better management, named nurses who are allowed professional judgement and more at hand information regarding their patients. My mother was an auxillary nurse in the old Durham (Dryburn) working nights late 70's-80's. They never heard of MRSA. Cleanliness was key. Back to basics is needed!

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Response from University Hospital Of North Durham

Thank you for providing feedback on your mother's recent admission to Wards 3 and 6 at university Hospital North Durham.

Firstly, I would like to offer my condolences to you and your family for the loss of your mother.

I am very sorry to read of your and your mother's experience of Ward 3 and would welcome the opportunity to discuss your concerns with you. If you feel this would be useful please contact the Trust’s Patient Experience Team on 0800 7835774. If you would prefer to contact us by e-mail, our address is patient.experience@cddft.nhs.uk

Alternatively, you can write to us at the following address: -

Patient Experience Team

Darlington Memorial Hospital

Hollyhurst Road


County Durham


If you do decide to contact us, please make us aware that you have left comments on the NHS Choices website.

The Trust is grateful for all feedback, positive or negative, as it means we can better understand what is important to our patients.

Thank you for leaving your comments on NHS Choices.

Patient Experience Team

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust

Tel: 0800 7835774

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful

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