{REF REMOVED} Mum was assaulted by another patient there yesterday

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by janishere, Mar 15, 2007.

  1. janishere

    janishere Guest

    #1 janishere, Mar 15, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2007
    {Name Removed} Yesterday, visiting my Mum, a dementia sufferer there, I was told by Nurse {Name Removed} that Mum had been assaulted by another patient. I asked her to identify the patient concerned and she refused because of "patient confidentiality". There were no injuries thank goodness. She was prepared to tell me it was a woman patient who had done it. I asked what had been done to protect my Mum from this patient doing a similar thing again to her and after considerable pressure she told me the woman patient had "been put on medication" and she was "at the end of the corridor" (i.e. the opposite end from where Mum's bed is). I was too late with my recording machine and was only able to repeat the question while recording i.e. what is the NHS going to do about the situation, but her replies were merely that she was not willing to be recorded and that it is "illegal" to take photographs and make recordings in hospital and that she needed to "protect herself". Later I recommended to staff that Mum should have her own room (there are several in {Ref Removed} Ward), they said it would not help! I responded that it might help a little. I also suggested to Nurse {Ref Removed} that the woman patient concerned should be moved out of the ward for the safety of not just my Mum but other patients too. She said "there is nowhere for her to go to" and she kept saying that when I responded with incredulity. Finally she said there was a place arranged for her to go but implied that medically she was not fit to go to it. Fit enough to punch my Mum in the arm though!

    It was a beautiful day yesterday and I drove Mum to the Rubbing Post pub on Epsom Downs by the racecourse. It has tables and benches outside and a lovely view of the racecourse (The Gold Cuup race is on there tomorrow if any of you are interested!). She enjoyed it very much. After a coffee and a Baileys each, we drove back to the hospital. It is difficult to understand most of what she says, but there are times when she is crystal clear. And she was crystal clear when she came out with the phrase "punched me in the arm". Surprisingly she was not distressed about it.

    On my way home, I remembered noticing on my last visit two police officers entering the {Ref Removed}(where {Ref Removed} Wards are) and wondering what they were doing there. A similar incident perhaps.

    I then thought of contacting the Police myself. What do others think. And I also thought of complaining to the Healthcare Commission. I have no wish for revenge on the woman concerned, I expect she is very ill, however, obviously I do not want her to remain in the Ward and be a danger to others. You can email me directly if you prefer not to post.

  2. Kayla

    Kayla Registered User

    May 14, 2006
    Dear Jan,
    My Mum is in the general nursing section of a Nursing Home, which also caters for elderly people with dementia. She has vascular dementia and at times her behaviour has been out of character but fortunately never aggressive and she hasn't been on the receiving end of violent behaviour.
    I don't really think you should name a hospital, or a particular ward, or member of staff on a public forum like Talking Point, as it is against the guidelines.
    If I was in your situation, I think I would talk to the person in charge initially and make a formal complaint if necessary, but you do need to find out all the information about what led up to this distressing incident. I do hope you can resolve the situation and keep your Mum safe and happy.
  3. twink

    twink Registered User

    Oct 28, 2005
    Cambridgeshire UK
    Hi Jan,

    My husband has been in hospital for almost 6 months now and he finds loud noises very difficult to cope with. There was a woman in for a few months who used to shout and he really hated it, you could see it in his face but he never said anything. Fortunately she left a few weeks ago only to be replaced by another lady who shouted even louder and even having dementia, realized that she was upsetting Steve and the staff told me she singled him out. She did it a few times when I was visiting, she'd come and stand beside him or sit on a chair right next to him and start shouting. The staff told me he was great, never said a word and walked off. She was in the room next to him so they moved him which I thought maybe a little unfair as he'd been there for months and she's only been there for weeks. I was talking to a nurse on Tuesday and she told me she has actually hit Steve a few times but nothing serious, just a 'slap' apparently. Steve is only 56 years old and a big man so he could have seriously hurt her had he turned nasty but he didn't but what if she strikes one of the old frail people. Thankfully Steve moved into a nursing home yesterday evening so I don't have the problem of what to do about this woman. One of my first questions to the manager of the home was 'do you have any noisy people!'. She said they don't. Thank goodness for that! Apparently Steve was always 'ok' until this lady started shouting and then it really upset him and he was very agitated.

    Hope you get it all sorted out quickly.

  4. CraigC

    CraigC Registered User

    Mar 21, 2003
    Hi Jan,

    I am really sorry but I removed all the specific references to the home and the individuals involved. I understand your predicament and feel for you in this difficult time, but we cannot allow naming in this way as it breaks the rules and guidelines of this forum for many reasons.

    In this particular situation the police are involved and you have named the home and the nurses involved.

    I hope you understand and can still find support and help without these references included.

    Kind Regards
  5. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    In any ward or home where there are dementia patients of varying stages of their dementia, medication, and symptoms, there will be incidents.

    That is a first thing we need to realise. A person with dementia is no longer of our world, with our expectations and sensibilities.

    So, it happens.

    It shouldn't of course, and staff will be on the alert to ensure that, as far as possible, it does not happen. If it happens, they will try and understand why, and seek to minimise the chances of it happening again.

    A problem is - where can either the person attacked - or the attacker [to use emotive language] be put. There aren't enough places for people generally, and certainly not enough for people who are more troubled/troublesome.

    I don't really think police are the answer, unless the place has clearly not made attempts to ensure that physical abuse by other patients/residents cannot take place.

    It really is a major problem and OF COURSE we get hugely angry if it is our relative who has been damaged. The challenge is finding a solution.

    Generally I have found that medication is best for those prone to being violent.

    To be clear - I have huge sympathy for your situation!!!!! Not making excuses for anyone. It is simply a very difficult place, DementiaWorld.....:eek:
  6. Canadian Joanne

    Canadian Joanne Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 8, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    I've been on the other side

    This really hits home for me because my mother has been the attacking person several times. During most of 2006, she would have aggressive violent episodes and attacked both residents and personnel. It all came to a head last September & I've posted extensively about it, what happened & the actions taken.

    I was horrified about it all. I personally feel that more staff could have helped but honestly my mother was so agitated & easily pushed over the edge it's hard to say. During all of last year, we (myself, the specialist & a lot of people at the home) tried all kinds of medication changes, to a limited temporary success.

    Now my mother still have her agitated moments but since her hospitalization for her violence, she is confined to a wheelchair.

    I still think that more staff could only help. I even agreed to have my mother moved to a dementia ward, which only intensified her aggression, as there were residents who were very noisy, which would set my mother off.

    Are there any answers? I don't know. I think there must be other avenues. Having my mother in a wheelchair has solved the problem but what a cost.

    What can you do? Obviously, you should formally complain to the management of the home. As part of your complaint, pressing for another room should definitely be part of it. I don't quite understand if your mother is in a home or hospital but either way, something needs to be done.

    Good luck.
  7. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Dear Joanne,
    It was very courageous of you to address the other side of the coin re violence.

    It is hard to have a very vulnerable relative attacked by another, but I think even more difficult to admit your relative was the attacker.

    Take care
  8. Canadian Joanne

    Canadian Joanne Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 8, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    Dear Sylvie,

    Yes, it was very upsetting when my mother was attacking people. The general manager did not want me speaking to any of the families of the attacked persons. I wanted, at the very least, to apologize and also to try and explain. This never happened as the management didn't want it to. The families were extremely upset (naturally) and wanted my mother to be kicked out of the home Or that's what I was told. It was an extremely difficult time for everyone, my mother included.

    Am I courageous in telling my mother's story? No. It's just the truth and I do think it helps us all to see as many points of view as possible. I guess it's my way of constantly apologizing & explaining for my mother.

    How to prevent this in the future should be a priority for homes.

  9. janishere

    janishere Guest

    Reluctantly I have reported the matter to the local police

    You are a lovely bunch of people. It seems we all agree that the NHS hospital concerned must ensure that patients are safe on the ward. I still have not been satisfied that this has happened in this particular case. The ward has still not provided me with details of what happened either and I consider I am entitled to these. I have been advised by a journalist member on the msn *************** forum that under the circumstances and in the interests of other patients as well as my Mum I should report the matter to the police. I have reluctantly done so in the hope that police involvement will prompt the NHS Trust to take proper action to ensure safety of all in the ward. I repeat I am not personally angry with the patient who assaulted my Mum and I don't think Mum is either. I wish I could speak to the important relatives of this patient, perhaps like Canadian Joanne they would like to talk to me and we could all help each other. But the bureaucratic NHS system does not allow of this. I will let other members of this forum know the outcome.
  10. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    SW Scotland
    Joanne, you shouldn't have to apologise for your mother. Aggression is one of the more unpleasant side-effects of dementia, for some sufferers at least. It should be recognised as such, and no blame should attach to sufferer or primary carer.

    Any blame should lie with the hospital/NH staff who have not provided sufficient supervision, or had sufficient training to defuse the situation.

    It all comes down to money again, doesn't it, but I do think we have the right to demand protection for our loved ones, whether aggressor or victim. I agree, such provision should be a priority.

  11. Canadian Joanne

    Canadian Joanne Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 8, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    But I want to apologize

    I know I don't have to apologize but I did want the families to know how I felt.

    Yes, it does come down to money or rather it comes down to institutions wanting to spend as little as possible. There are 30 residents on my mother's unit, & a total of 5 staff. And this is the "better" staffed unit because it's a dementia unit. It means they have one more person.

    I could start ranting here about lack of staff but I'll contain myself.

    Jan, I think going to the police was the right thing to do. I didn't realize it was a hospital at first. Definitely an investigation should prod a few people to take the correct measure. Let us hope.

  12. janishere

    janishere Guest

    I have to be honest

    Thank you for your support Canadian Joanne. I know how it feels to be the carer of the perpetrator rather than the victim. Before Christmas last year, she and another dementia patient were walking around the ward removing other people's possessions and causing chaos by putting them in different places. Mum stopped doing this when the other patient was moved to a nursing home. However, I have to face the fact that for all I know on this occasion Mum might have provoked the other patient to assault her by removing something that was hers.

    There were many complaints by relatives of other patients and I had to face the fact that my Mum had been responsible, even though it was totally out of character. She is a World War II Air Force veteran who volunteered for the service and served from beginning to end all those years ago. So it was a shock. But I now realise it is not her fault, it is the terrible illness which is dementia.

  13. noelphobic

    noelphobic Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    My mum has had quite a few seizures over the last few months and it seems to take her quite a while to recover from them. A few weeks ago after one seizure she went through a phase of being very aggressive and trying to hit me while I was trying to feed her, which was very upsetting. She was eating the food so was obviously hungry but was shouting at me after every mouthful. It was so upsetting for both of us that I had to stop trying to feed her. One of the care assistants then came in and told me that her arms were covered in scratches which had been caused by my mum. My mum wouldn't hurt a fly so it was shocking to witness and hear this. I was glad that she had been in the nursing home for quite some time by this point, as this meant that the staff would also know that this was out of character for my mum and luckily it doesn't seem to be an ongoing thing. I am sure that it is quite possible that if she were more mobile and less physically weak, then the other residents could have been in danger of similar treatment sadly.

    As with most aspects of this damned disease, there are no easy solutions!
  14. janishere

    janishere Guest

    #14 janishere, Mar 16, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 16, 2007
    My Post of This Morning Has Been Deleted! Moderator Please Explain

    My updated post of this morning on this issue detailing the inadequate response of the police and {REF REMOVED} to what is a serious matter of assault on a hospital ward has been deleted. I understand why names of people have to be taken out of posts, but names of places and hospitals and wards - that is going a bit far surely?

    At the very least my post should be placed back on the forum minus all the names. Will you be doing this Moderator?
  15. Tash

    Tash Registered User

    Jan 8, 2007
    London, UK
    Whatever the organisation, the Alzheimer's Society is liable for the content posted on this board. However unfair it might seem, we can't allow an individual post to jeopardise the future of TalkingPoint. Please see points 2.3, 3.2, 3.4, 3.8 and 4.1. in the forum guidelines.

    The update thread has been returned to the forum, without the specific references and emails.

    I hope you can understand our position, and that you will post in future without these specific references.
  16. janishere

    janishere Guest

    Update - so much for The Boys In Blue and {REF REMOVED}

    Below is my truncated post:

    I have had only one voicemail message from the police at Epsom in reply to my two emails to individual officers and my separate report to the Surrey HQ. This is a disappointing response considering a whole wardful of people could be in danger of another assault. When i called back the number was engaged. I left a message but there has been no further contact from the police.

    I have also contacted {REF REMOVED} about the assault. I set out below copies of both my emails to {REF REMOVED} and the reply (all in italics).

    In view of the lack of caring about the patients in the Ward and spineless attitude as demonstrated by {REF REMOVED} fobbing off style email to me (which I find extraordinary considering this charity has gone out of its way to "adopt" the Ward), donations to this charity from me will not be forthcoming unless I detect a more proactive approach in the future.

    {Emails removed due to references to specific organisations and people}

    Last edited by Tash : Today at 12:54 PM. Reason: Please note that this has been edited by moderator as it contravenes forum guidelines
  17. janishere

    janishere Guest

    Is this post going to be censored too?

    Blah Blah Blah!
  18. janishere

    janishere Guest

    I wonder if this post will be censored too

    Blah Blah Blah
  19. janishere

    janishere Guest

    #19 janishere, Mar 16, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 16, 2007
    My posts keep being deleted or redirected to a thread I never started!

    Well I dunno - this forum is well scary - moderators swarming all over my posts which although critical of {REF REMOVED} and Epsom police are not exactly libellous - Alzheimer's Society is turning out to be pretty spineless as well - how do you at Alzheimer's expect to achieve change with such a fearful and fearing attitude towards organisations and authorities that rule our lives (or try to)? I suppose this post will be redirected to the thread I never started and even the words "Alzheimer's Society" may be deleted, or perhaps the whole post pulled?:eek:
  20. CraigC

    CraigC Registered User

    Mar 21, 2003
    Hi Jan,

    The reason for removing the direct references has been explained really clearly. This is also a public not private forum.

    We are here to support people with dementia and their carers. Talking point is not a platform for making direct complaints against specific organisations. You are doing the right thing by contacting them directly and lots of people here have given you some very sound advice. I understand your frustration, but please see our position and how important it is to protect Talking Point as a whole.

    It has been frustrating for me over the years, visting care homes for mum and dad that had some shameful practices. Of course I wanted to post here and let everyone know about it, but I just had to resist naming and shaming on this forum. With advice from other members, we contacted the CSCI and eventually they were very responsive.

    Kind Regards

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