When my sister
phoned Newham Hospital last Thursday afternoon to get my aunt’s discharge
deferred until today (Saturday) she was told that all the professionals involved
had passed her fit to live alone with care workers checking up on her
occasionally and that hospital staff had been phoning me all day without reply.
That is a lie. There were no missed calls on my mobile and my landline is equipped with a Truecall device that logs all activity to the web. If I pick up the phone, dial 0 and change my mind, it is logged. Similarly if there is an incoming caller who rings off for any reason, the time, their number (or withheld) and duration are logged as a permanent record. No such calls were logged while my aunt was in hospital. Not once did they call me.
I do not believe the comment about being fit to live alone either. There had been only one bowel movement in hospital and not once during my daily visits did I see her get out of her chair or bed unaided. She had to be lifted every time and as mentioned already the physiotherapists all took four days off for Easter.
My sister and I got ourselves up to East Ham from Hampshire by 11 a.m., both of us anticipating a long wait because the hospital was unable to give any clue about her likely discharge time.
At six minutes past eleven the hospital rang my mobile number to make sure we were ready to accept the patient because transport had been arranged.
At 13:39 they rang again, same message. Was I ready and waiting? They knew nothing of the earlier call. Internal communication is not Newham Hospital’s strong point.
Thirty minutes later an ambulance delivered a bewildered old lady to the threshold of her own front door with the aid of her own wheelchair. She was crying out in pain as she shuffled to her favourite chair and we looked in vain for any instructions on how she should be treated.
Could we give her paracetamol or had she just had some? Don’t know.
She needed the toilet and remembered how to use the chair lift but her 120 year old house has a step on the top landing between the stairs and the bathroom and bedroom. She cannot lift her leg. It took two people to carry her over the step. The care worker I had hired for the bedtime shift could not manage it alone.
If the staff at Newham Hospital were truly professional they would have discovered that their patient cannot lift her feet off the ground. If the promised Occupational Therapists had visited the house they may have realised that some adaptation was required but they couldn’t be bothered to take a look. It looks as though I will have to make another visit with some timber and a saw.
At 18:41 my mobile rang again. It was the courier company CityLink. The hospital had forgotten to give the medical supplies to their ambulance crew and the courier had been asked to collect them for delivery to my aunt’s address. Unfortunately their instructions did not say where they were to be collected from. Newham Hospital, incompetent to the very end.
I told them that my only contact point was Tayberry ward at Newham Hospital. Half an hour later a motorcyclist was at the door clutching 24 loaded syringes with instructions to administer them subcutaneously. How? Who by?
When I got home I found a message on my landline answerphone. It said “Hello sir, I am the District Nurse and I ” and then it cut off.
When my aunt broke her hip in 2015 (it was her leg this time) she was kept in a recuperation unit for seven weeks after the two in hospital before she was judged fit to go home, but Barts Health NHS Trust decided to close it.
Now they dump constipated immobile old ladies in their own home without doing any check on whether the house is in a good enough state or whether the family has made suitable arrangements. Professional? What a joke.
I will have to get a commode for the bedroom. Where do you get one of those at the weekend?
My sister goes on holidays frequently and will be away in just a couple of weeks time; what if I become unwell and cannot make the trip to East Ham every day? I’ve trialled a care home but the old lady spends her time packing a suitcase to go home and refuses to eat.
I had already doubled the care workers hours and in the short term there is 24/7 cover but it looks like two carers will be needed to negotiate that step.
I very much hope that Newham University Hospital is the worst one in the country, although Whipp’s Cross must surely be hard to beat, because if this is typical of the incompetence on daily display by hospitals then perhaps we should privatise the lot and sack the incompetents. Starting with Newham’s Geriatric Consultant, Doctor Pratt might be a good plan.
That review in full
I am horrified by the the way my elderly Father is being treated at this hospital (Thistle Ward). He was admitted on Thursday night, 27 October, as he was seriously ill and had a very bad infection, and we were Informed that he was developing septicaemia. In spite of his medical condition when we rushed to the hospital at about 2300hrs he was lucid and was glad to see his family. On Sunday when we visited him, he told us that he was lying in excrement for a long time and when he informed the night nurses to clean him they just did not bother. Another patient who was in the same bay as my Dad said that the two nurses were watching a horror movie and shouted at my Father! What kind of nursing staff does Newham employ - I feel you are scraping the barrel when it comes to recruiting your nurses.
My Father hasn’t had a decent meal since he has been in hospital as he keeps throwing up. When I mentioned this to the doctor today (1st Nov), they informed me that they saw him eating, but having three small spoonfuls of Weetabix is not a proper meal. Since he has been in hospital he has not had any lunch or dinner. In spite of not eating he has diarrhoea frequently and the doctors need to investigate why this is happening.
This evening (2 Nov) my Father was transferred to a side room and am very concerned that they will just forget about him and he will be covered in excrement as there are no other patients who can raise the alarm. My sister visited him this evening and found he had no nappy or blankets on him. My Father went into hospital with a fully functioning brain but lack of liquid, food and care has reduced him to a shadow of his former self. Please look after your frail patients.
As no one is listening to the family’s concerns, I feel the next step is his MP. I did speak to PALS at the hospital today but I had the feeling that it was a waste of time.
I am so worried that my Father might be treated badly by the unprofessional nursing staff in the side room where there are witnesses. Such a disgusting hospital for not caring.
Thistle and Tayberry wards are adjacent geriatric units.
25 April 2019. • 27 April 2019. • 29 April 2019. • 2 May 2019. • 3 May 2019 1st part. • 3 May 2019 2nd part. • 6 May 2019 1st part. • 6 May 2019 2nd part. • 7 May 2019. • 8 May 2019. • 9 May 2019. • 10 May 2019. • 11 May 2019. • 18 May 2019.
The Omnibus Edition.