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Hospital stay

Plymum

Registered User
Jan 9, 2014
135
Could anyone advise me of my rights and how to go about dealing with what has happened to my Mum with dementia please?
BACKGROUND: She was admitted to hospital 9 days ago after falling at home. She was CT scanned and a bleed on the brain spotted. Since then she has been on the acute stroke unit. She has lost the sight in one eye, is unable to walk and is very confused and talking words which strung together make no sense.
On Monday of this week she was deemed to be able to be moved to a general ward.
I have been at her bedside all day every day until yesterday when I had to leave early afternoon for an appointment. I returned at 7pm last night. She was very agitated and upset, but because of her inability to use words anymore was unable to tell me why. I asked a nurse why my Mum seemed agitated and was nonchalantly told that at 3.30 another patient on the ward had attacked her, tried to put a tube down her throat and put "ointment" into her! As you can imagine, I was shocked and asked how there could have been a situation where a patient had time to do all this to my Mum without someone on the ward noticing. To which no adequate answer was really given except mumblings about everyone being busy.
I asked to see the written report made by the nurse who witnessed part of the incident. I was told that I was not allowed to see the written notes. I have made an appointment to see my Mum's Consultant today but would like to know if I am entitled to see the notes so that I can go into the meeting forearmed.
As if it wasn't enough to be dealing with the emotions of seeing a loved one in such turmoil, I now have the feeling that when I am not at my Mum's bedside she is in danger.
I feel so emotional - that I might be over-reacting ... please tell me if you think I am. Thank you an extremely anxious carer.
 

Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
8,820
Yorkshire
Hi Plymum
your poor mum - and what a worry for you

if you don't have POA I'm not sure that you do have a right to see her notes - are you her closest relative? you could make it clear that you are next of kin and so should be consulted; but still not sure about a 'right' to see notes
however, her consultant certainly has that right and a duty of care to your mum - personally, I'd write out exactly what was said to you and when, and when you left your mum so there's a clear time frame, with a description of the state you found your mum in - and make it clear that you had to ask what was wrong rather than being approached with an explanation - this is clearly a safeguarding issue
I believe PALS may be of help; contact them if you can

I hope others can add more info for you
 

Plymum

Registered User
Jan 9, 2014
135
Thanks Shedrech. Yes I do have POA for health, welfare ,finance and property. And yes I am her only relative.
I was told today that an investigation would start on Monday.
The perpetrator had a 24 hour, one to one nurse with them today. My Mum has been moved to a private room. The Consultant, doctors, nurses and HCA's were all apologising to me and the ward discipline was much tighter all round.
I have written everything down.
Thankyou for replying. I appreciate it.
 

HillyBilly

Registered User
Dec 21, 2015
1,947
Ireland
As you have POA I don't see that they can refuse to show you the notes they have. This sounds horrific. A written complaint at the very least needs to be made IMHO.
Hope you're OK tonight.
 

Plymum

Registered User
Jan 9, 2014
135
My Mum hasn't spoken or opened her eyes all day yesterday. I was told by a junior doctor that my Mum had Metanium pushed into her mouth by the other patient . Surely there should be nothing left lying around for patients/visitors to touch. I thought everything had to be locked away. Now I am worried that my Mum has salicylate poisoning. This is a nightmare. I haven't slept a wink and I feel exhausted from the worry of it all.
 

Beetroot

Registered User
Aug 19, 2015
362
The hospital should have a leaflet readily available that explains their complaints procedure. Write down notes of everything that happened so far so you have an aide memoire and take notes during or immediately after any further conversations - at the very least, this will show them you are serious and not going to let the matter go.

In the complaint letter set out what occured and then ask all the questions you can think of to get to the bottom of this. Try to be specific: how did the perpetrator get hold of the drug in the first place; you understand procedures have been tightened, how has this been done? Have the people responsible been disciplined? If so how, and if not why not? Did anyone examine your mother to find out if damage was caused to her by the administration of the drug? If they did, how did they do it; what areas did they check. If they didn't check, why didn't they? And so forth.

They may invite you to a meeting in the first instance, again take notes and perhaps a friend for moral support.

There will be an advocacy service in your area who would help you - sometimes one can get so angry and upset that's it's hard to do the letter yourself.

This is very worrying for you. Good luck.
 

nicoise

Registered User
Jun 29, 2010
1,806
As I understand it, Metanium is a nappy rash cream?

It seems unlikely that the concentration of salicylate in the cream would cause poisoning unless a large quantity of the cream had been ingested, especially given its normal use.

But if you are worried about that specific issue, then raise it with the ward staff sooner rather than later to either get treatment for your mother started quickly, or to put your mind at rest.

Your poor mum has had a rough time of it in the hospital, but it does sound as though they are being honest and telling you about it, and taking steps to protect her better. Unfortunately hospital just isn't a good place for people with dementia.... :(
 
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WORRIER123

Registered User
Oct 1, 2015
1,174
I am so sorry it must be such a worry. I asked for my dads hospital notes and I just had to fill out a 1 page form and send in POA and I received 120 pages of notes (this was after he was discharged I requested as he was in for 3mts and no conclusion)
I went into hospital website and there was a section to contact PALs. They put me in contact with right person. Each hospital though should have signs to the PALs office
I learnt a lot from the notes 80% I wasn't aware !!
Good luck
 

Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
8,820
Yorkshire
morning Plymum
I'm pleased that the hospital put measures in place and that your mum has been moved
I hope she's more responsive today
and that you did get some sleep
keep us informed
best wishes to you both
 

Plymum

Registered User
Jan 9, 2014
135
Thankyou to you all. It has helped so much to know that other folks have shared with me and thanks so much for your advice.
I'm so upset by everything this morning I am tearful and haven't been able to leave the house. I feel exhausted by it all let alone complaining and letter writing. I've looked after my dear Mum for 9 years and after one week in hospital there is all this to deal with. Hospital seems the worst place for a pwd to be.
I hope I can perk up a bit this afternoon so that I can go onto the ward without bursting into tears.
So many of us carers dealing with things others couldn't even imagine. Hugs to you all.
 

irismary

Registered User
Feb 7, 2015
499
West Midlands
So sorry to read this. We naively think the personal care in hospital will be good but sadly it seems not. My OH was in hospital following a minor stroke and I found him chewing a plastic bottle top. He could have choked. It looked like he had been chewing it for ages and his meal was untouched. There was a member of staff sitting right opposite him. How had she not noticed? It took me seconds when I got there. No-one seemed in the slightest bit concerned but I suppose they see so much of this type of thing. Scary
 
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la lucia

Registered User
Jul 3, 2011
593
Thankyou to you all. It has helped so much to know that other folks have shared with me and thanks so much for your advice.
I'm so upset by everything this morning I am tearful and haven't been able to leave the house. I feel exhausted by it all let alone complaining and letter writing. I've looked after my dear Mum for 9 years and after one week in hospital there is all this to deal with. Hospital seems the worst place for a pwd to be.
I hope I can perk up a bit this afternoon so that I can go onto the ward without bursting into tears.
So many of us carers dealing with things others couldn't even imagine. Hugs to you all.
What a dreadful situation for you and your mum. I don'tunderstand why they have even put her on a general ward. My mum also had a brain bleed and after being on the stroke ward for a week they moved her to a stroke rehabilitation ward in a small 'intermediate care' hospital. She was there for a month.

She's 96 with quite advanced dementia but she still recovered quite considerably from the effects of the major hemorrhage and this was down to the intensive therapy she received. Also, because it was a small hospital it was very dementia friendly.

It's definitely worth asking if there's anything similar available for your mum. There's a window of opportunity for recuperation after a stroke and they should be using this time. Best of luck with it all.
 

Spiro

Registered User
Mar 11, 2012
522
She was very agitated and upset, but because of her inability to use words anymore was unable to tell me why. I asked a nurse why my Mum seemed agitated and was nonchalantly told that at 3.30 another patient on the ward had attacked her, tried to put a tube down her throat and put "ointment" into her! As you can imagine, I was shocked and asked how there could have been a situation where a patient had time to do all this to my Mum without someone on the ward noticing.
How distressing for your Mum and for you.

Your Mum is a vulnerable person and the event you describe suggests a safeguarding issue. Contact PALS on Monday and find out who is responsible for safeguarding at the hospital.

You have POA so you should be able to access your Mum's notes, but you may have to wait until she is discharged.

Hope the meeting with the consultant is helpful.
 

Plymum

Registered User
Jan 9, 2014
135
For those following this nightmare incident. On Monday I was invited to attend a meeting with the Ward Sister. Being an organised type I wrote out a list of questions ... the first of which was "I presume you have read the notes written by your colleague?" The answer was "No"
How on earth did she think she was going to answer my questions when she hadn't read about the incident!!??
So I politely suggested it would be prudent if she read the report and called me back in whilst I visited Mum.
30 minutes later I went back in and asked question number one. "Can you tell me exactly what happened?"
Unfortunately the notes made were so scant that the Ward Sister was unable to give me any detail!!

Meeting number TWO scheduled for tomorrow afternoon after the person who is supposed to have made the notes has been questioned again.

I have phoned an advocacy number left a message but no-one has got back to me yet.
I spoke to PALS who has been helpful in getting my Mum a 24 hour one to one nurse.
The local carers association has offered to accompany me to meetings but tomorrow I am taking a friend who is going to make notes for me.

Watch this space.
PS I'm documenting this in case it proves to be of help to anyone else in the future.
 

nicoise

Registered User
Jun 29, 2010
1,806
That all sounds very sloppy, quite frankly! There should be a fairly detailed report on what happened, and the ward sister should be able to tell you what is there..

Not knowing is not acceptable, and she will know this - it isn't something new.

I appreciate this is demanding even more of you, but please try to keep going with getting a proper answer.

It certainly will help someone in the future, and sadly there will be others who need to read your story. ;)
 

Plymum

Registered User
Jan 9, 2014
135
Thanks Nicoise I will keep going. I will post what happens in today's meeting.
 

Beetroot

Registered User
Aug 19, 2015
362
Good luck with the meeting - it should be helpful, but I would still put the complaint in writing and ask for a written response. It will concentrate their minds and, as I understand it, it has to be signed off at the top so the top will know there's been a formal complaint.
 

Plymum

Registered User
Jan 9, 2014
135
To update. I have made a formal complaint in writing and am awaiting a reply. The NHS advocacy service agreed to help me but when they had heard the details of the incident they said they had a duty to inform the local council because this was a safeguarding issue. The local council reviewed the incident and have now given the hospital 60 days to conduct a thorough investigation.
Meanwhile Mum is confabulating, hallucinating and delusional. Wondering if she would be as bad if she was somewhere else? No stimulation at all, laying in a bed all day with a catheter in, one UTI after another, one set of ABs after another, doubly incontinent. Unable to recognise anyone or anywhere or anything. Not wanting to eat or drink.The saddest end to a life you could imagine. Heartbreaking
 

Rodelinda

Registered User
Jun 15, 2015
172
Suffolk
So sorry to read your latest post; how distressing for both of you - and possibly how unneccessary. All I can offer is a virtual hug and feel angry on your behalf. The NHS should work better than this to support people when they need help. Sue