Negligent nurses?

Dimpsy

Registered User
Sep 2, 2019
1,020
Did you pass on your observation to the ward manager? This is one reason why I have fouight to keep mum out of our local hospital when threatened with admission
Do you know @Palerider, it never entered my head. I assumed that was the way we do things now.

There was no way I would have left mum, she is so vulnerable I didn't have any indication that she would be looked after and kept safe which was why I stayed with her. I can quite understand your reticence with regards to your mum, because that is the view I now hold.

Mum was only in for a short time, so my observations were limited, but dirty sheets left on a chair all afternoon were there for all to see, none of the ladies were encouraged or helped to eat or drink and the lackadaisical attitude of toileting I've already mentioned.
I'm certainly not an advocate of the 'good old day's', by any means, but I did feel that standards weren't what they were in my day.
If our experience was a true reflection of today's caring, and I truly hope it wasn't, then I should have talked to someone, we are a healthy family and haven't ever stepped foot into hospital, so are unaware of modern nursing.
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
597
High Peak
I'm sorry to say my mum's experiences when in hospital were exactly as @Dimpsy has described. 3 different hospitals, all the same - one somewhat worse than the other 2 though I believe that one is now in 'special measures'.

I never saw the nurses doing anything pro-active. One time I visited and mum was lying in - literally - a deep puddle of urine. Even her pillow was wet with it and the back of her hair. At that time she was on a 6 bed side ward with a nurse sitting in the corner! I immediately alerted the nurse (who was doing nothing) and I'm afraid she did everything she could to get out of doing anything about it. She tried to get me to assist saying, 'It's YOUR mum!' but I told her it was HER job, not mine and that I didn't have that sort of relationship with my mother. I walked out into the corridor because I wanted to find a doctor. Not possible of course. The cluster of nurses at the nurses station outside had no clue about my mother, what she was in for, what was supposed to be happening - not a scooby.

Mum had gone into the hospital following a fall. I knew she had dementia but everyone else was in denial ('she's just getting a bit old') so she was undiagnosed. She'd been living independently till then and was 'OK' but when I saw her in the hospital she was completely gone - delerious and with a huge change in her cognition.

At that point, she needed a proper assessment but of course that didn't happen. No one was interested in how she was before and how she was now. She only got a second scan because I ranted at the consultant when I eventually found one. They found a chronic sub-dural haematoma. In the following week this grew then they panicked and moved her to another hospital with a neurology department. The consultant had insisted she was fine and no further scan was needed. And he was horrible to me.

The rest was a complete catalogue of errors. She developed an infection in the head wound so had to go back to theatre. Somewhere along the way her false teeth were lost. Nobody cared. Her clothes were all lost including 2 complete outfits with shoes and coat I'd taken in later. Speaking to anyone who knew what was going on was impossible. You never saw the same nurse/doctor twice so had to repeat the whole sorry tale with each new one. I was treated as a troublemaker because I complained about lack of care. On the neuro ward they would phone me up several times a day because mum was ranting and banging on the door to get out. She would scream at me down the phone and wouldn't listen to anything I said, so all a bit pointless - I don't know what they thought I could do.

Sorry for this rant - most of this happened 3 years ago but I was completely disgusted with the lack of basic care and communication between staff. (Don't get me started on the even worse communication between hospital staff and social services when it came to getting her out.) I eventually took matters into my own hands and set up a move to a CH near me. I met her there from the ambulance. The paras were very apologetic because she'd been 'handed over' to them wearing just a hospital gown with sick down the front, no knickers and just a pair of dirty socks. They'd given her blankets - it was January and freezing.

The system is broken. Individual medical staff are good but you can't help seeing that the way things are run now is not working. And as a result patients are being neglected and/or not getting the care and treatment they should. I wish it was just me but I have to say, I have heard the same story (and worse) from so many people in recent years. Anyone going into hospital takes their chances :(
 

Palerider

Registered User
Aug 9, 2015
1,277
North West
...I assumed that was the way we do things now...
Hello @Dimpsy -I can tell you it's not how we do things now, the principles of care are the same as they always have been, but this kind of behaviour has become normalised in some places and it isn't normal. What I can't believe is that I am sat reading really bad accounts of care so often now.
 

Palerider

Registered User
Aug 9, 2015
1,277
North West
I'm sorry to say my mum's experiences when in hospital were exactly as @Dimpsy has described. 3 different hospitals, all the same - one somewhat worse than the other 2 though I believe that one is now in 'special measures'.

I never saw the nurses doing anything pro-active. One time I visited and mum was lying in - literally - a deep puddle of urine. Even her pillow was wet with it and the back of her hair. At that time she was on a 6 bed side ward with a nurse sitting in the corner! I immediately alerted the nurse (who was doing nothing) and I'm afraid she did everything she could to get out of doing anything about it. She tried to get me to assist saying, 'It's YOUR mum!' but I told her it was HER job, not mine and that I didn't have that sort of relationship with my mother. I walked out into the corridor because I wanted to find a doctor. Not possible of course. The cluster of nurses at the nurses station outside had no clue about my mother, what she was in for, what was supposed to be happening - not a scooby.

Mum had gone into the hospital following a fall. I knew she had dementia but everyone else was in denial ('she's just getting a bit old') so she was undiagnosed. She'd been living independently till then and was 'OK' but when I saw her in the hospital she was completely gone - delerious and with a huge change in her cognition.

At that point, she needed a proper assessment but of course that didn't happen. No one was interested in how she was before and how she was now. She only got a second scan because I ranted at the consultant when I eventually found one. They found a chronic sub-dural haematoma. In the following week this grew then they panicked and moved her to another hospital with a neurology department. The consultant had insisted she was fine and no further scan was needed. And he was horrible to me.

The rest was a complete catalogue of errors. She developed an infection in the head wound so had to go back to theatre. Somewhere along the way her false teeth were lost. Nobody cared. Her clothes were all lost including 2 complete outfits with shoes and coat I'd taken in later. Speaking to anyone who knew what was going on was impossible. You never saw the same nurse/doctor twice so had to repeat the whole sorry tale with each new one. I was treated as a troublemaker because I complained about lack of care. On the neuro ward they would phone me up several times a day because mum was ranting and banging on the door to get out. She would scream at me down the phone and wouldn't listen to anything I said, so all a bit pointless - I don't know what they thought I could do.

Sorry for this rant - most of this happened 3 years ago but I was completely disgusted with the lack of basic care and communication between staff. (Don't get me started on the even worse communication between hospital staff and social services when it came to getting her out.) I eventually took matters into my own hands and set up a move to a CH near me. I met her there from the ambulance. The paras were very apologetic because she'd been 'handed over' to them wearing just a hospital gown with sick down the front, no knickers and just a pair of dirty socks. They'd given her blankets - it was January and freezing.

The system is broken. Individual medical staff are good but you can't help seeing that the way things are run now is not working. And as a result patients are being neglected and/or not getting the care and treatment they should. I wish it was just me but I have to say, I have heard the same story (and worse) from so many people in recent years. Anyone going into hospital takes their chances :(
The time before last mum was admitted she was accidentally given penicillin to which she is allergic and ended up on HDU for two nights having responded with full blown anaphylaxis. Her next admission after a fall resulted in her being assessed and triaged in the open public waiting room, to which I exploded, the nurses thought this was 'normal' to which they were told categorically it was not normal practice. When I went back at night she had been left in the corner of the ward with nothing to drink all day and a dried sandwich on her table from lunch, she hadn't had her meds and was wet because she couldn't find the toilet -I was furious. They say ignorance is bliss, I sometimes wish I was ignorant of the system I know so well.

But equally I have worked in excellent hospitals, where professionals do their best across all the professions to deliver good care. It seems to me some places are brilliant and others need a serous culture change and not just nurses -top down/bottom-up
 

Quizbunny

Registered User
Nov 20, 2011
106
@Jaded'n'faded i wish I could say that your poor mums experience was an isolated one. Yes funding is an issue as is management, but there is most certainly a lack of care and empathy from a lot of the nursing staff. The last time mum was in hospital I went to the nurses station to ask for someone to clean mum up, she had soaked right through her ‘nappy’ and was laying in a very wet bed. The nurse who chose to answer me said she was busy but would get someone else to come. I had to go back three times before the someone else put in an appearance.
 

Dimpsy

Registered User
Sep 2, 2019
1,020
Hello @Dimpsy -I can tell you it's not how we do things now, the principles of care are the same as they always have been, but this kind of behaviour has become normalised in some places and it isn't normal. What I can't believe is that I am sat reading really bad accounts of care so often now.
You must feel so frustrated @Palerider to bear witness to how our beloved NHS is evolving.

Thinking back to our experience, whilst all around us was madness, our eight hour sojourn in A&E was eased immeasurably by the kindness of a nurse who ensured mum was kept hydrated and appeared with sandwiches at lunchtime and again later in the afternoon. She talked to mum - and us and kept us up to speed with what would happen next.

I don't want to tar everyone with the same brush, her care and compassion stood out against the indifference of the ward staff when mum was admitted.

At what point does poor service tip over to become the norm?
 

Palerider

Registered User
Aug 9, 2015
1,277
North West
At what point does poor service tip over to become the norm?
From what I have seen, when managers stop listening to patients and staff and begin to focus on the wrong pointers to good care then the poison trickles through to grass roots. Thats sounds very simple, but its a considerably big and complex problem. Some hospitals have an ability to seperate the two and others seem to fall into the abyss.

The days when a ward a manager (senior ward sister) could really challenge anything have gone, now anyone worth their salt as a healthcare professional has to put their neck on the line to change the culture they work in. And believe me I have been shocked as a senior nurse doing my rounds at night by the attitude of a minority of staff (not just nurses but medics and other professions who should know better). But this is due to lack of being managed and led fairly but firmly as they should be, because it suites the organisation to push the boundaries of what is unacceptable. It depends very much if your senior management will back you if you do challenge bad practice or whether they will use it to silence you.

leadership is a buzz word in todays healthcare, but alot of leaders are too focussed on meeting external hospital targets, than dealing with real issues around care, and when you do raise an issue it often falls on deaf ears, because these so called 'managers' across the board including the modern day senior sister have no experience of meeting the needs of patients and managing conflicting scenarios and they likely don't want to hear the reality of their decision making. They have stopped seeing patients (for whatever reason) and began to see figures, cost implications and external agencies as more important as well as targets and the context hospitals have to meet these targets in.

Nurses were once regarded as angels and a worthy vocation. yes nurses have a duty of care, but so does the hospital and all the other professions and managers that work in it they all make a hospital culture, not just nurses, so how did we end up here?
 
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