My father spent time in hospital last Christmas. On the whole the staff were well-meaning but standards seemed far short of satisfactory.
He wanted to go to the toilet and got no response, so tried to get out of bed and fell and broke his ankle. No one took responsibility for this as he was moved to another ward.
There, he had no tissues, a cup of water was placed out of reach – as was the buzzer on the wall – and another patient was in obvious distress when having a bedbath. Surely such procedures shouldn’t take place during visiting hours, for the dignity of all concerned?
Why are older people spoken to like children, and automatically called by their first names? It may sound trivial but such matters can affect a person’s self-esteem and therefore general well-being.
The consultant asked me what I thought about my father having an operation on his ankle. I wondered why I was asked. I guess this was to remove the responsibility from the NHS and avoid litigation if anything was to go wrong.
I asked a professional friend who advised going ahead.
I was then shunted around various consultants and given conflicting advice. The operation took place three weeks later.
My father died five days later, not from the operation but from terminal cancer. The indecision and waiting did nothing for his morale in his final days.
During his hospital stay, he contracted not only MRSA but also a urinary tract infection. I really felt that he was never in safe hands.
Isn’t it time the whole nursing culture changed? Surely if someone doesn’t have the common sense to put a cup of water or the buzzer within a patient’s reach, they are not up to the job.
John Bird, Solihull
* This is an edited version of a story posted on Patient Opinion. The writer’s name has been changed. See www.patientopinion.org.uk