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Elderly Parents entering NHS hospitals

Discussion in 'Personal' started by forestje, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. forestje

    forestje New commenter

    Having seen both my elderly parents go through the NHS system at the end of their lives has left me wondering how I dread it happening to me.
    My mother died of mesothelioma in a hospice where I thought one would be able to die with dignity.The day she arrived, when we all realised that we would be unable to help her at home any longer, a band was setting up in the lounge opposite her allocated room. This was a difficult move for her as her privacy had been removed. It was Christmas week and I I stayed with her all day as I was rather alarmed. Three hours later I actually pulled the plug and demanded to see the director.Who the hell wants to listen to a band when you are dying!! When I went back in the evening there were a group of carol singers around her bed. A few days later she begged me to take her home as 3 out of the 4 TV's in her bay were blaring out-for the visitors-and she just wanted peace and quiet.After she died I arranged an interview and now each bed has earphones. The do gooders are still a problem from my point of view.If you think dying in a hospice is a quiet matter I can tell you it can be very noisy.
    Daddy was taken into hospital as his melanoma cancer took over his body.He was first admitted to an assessment ward where he was 'doo lally'.My sister and I insisted this was not his normal behaviour and he had a urine infection as he was off the wall but the nurses thought we were uncaring for someone as old as he was ie old age dementia.We insisted on tests and guess what, he had a urine infection.The hospital had very strict visiting hours and when my father was admitted to a medical ward my sister stayed with him during the day,sitting quietly on the chair by his bed, for a few days until she was asked to keep to the hours.He was dying.His body was giving up and he had not the strength to get out of bed, use the toilet or eat.When we were banned I will never forget a young man in the bed opposite who told us he would look after Al,as he called my father.This was a shaven tattooed man who was in for a stab injury.He fed him and made sure he gave him a drink when he raised his hand. I will never forget his kindness.
    My sister and I tried to understand the meanings of the symbols used on their board in the ward, which signifed what was happening to each patient.I asked the nurses to explain them to me but was told they were confidential.Daddy was released but they said he was not ill enough to go to a hospice.He died the following day.
    I saw the good points of the hospital and areas that worried me.For example during visiting time at night all nurses disappeared from the ward to their room for a break.If anyone wanted a loo break often the visitors helped out.Daddy could not feed or take a drink for himself so we relied on others on the ward to help him.The meals put on his bed side tray involved lids or tops being peeled back but he did not have the strength to do it. He needed a drink but did not have the ability to lift his arms as they were wrapped with bandages.When we arrived in the evening his meal tray would still be there-Oh he's not hungry tonight-was the frequent comment.Actually Daddy was too proud to admit he could not feed himself and did not want to be a bother.
    Parking is another issue that must be a worry for many.The cost twice a day mounts up for those with relatives in for a while.
    Now that they are no longer with me I would like to think I did the best for both of them.I am lucky in that we all lived close by.

  2. I wish you will print this off and send it to your MP. In a position where your loved ones and you are yourself ultimately helpless, you need to be able to depend upon the professionalism of those paid to be so to help your parents meet their end with some shred of comfort and dignity.
    My father died suddenly in apparently excellent health, and my mother's death, though not unexpected after many years of illness from MRSA (hah! picked up in hospital! And spread round the nursing home by her!) involved only a short stay in hospital in which I was happy with the standard of care she recived albeit from a sister shared between several wards, a qualified nurse seven months pregnant and two dimwitted but kindly (the latter being very much more important imo) care assistants.
    But 15 years ago, my friend suffered a stroke which was her last illness and the care at Leeds General Infirmary (go on, sue me) was so poor that another friend and I took it in turns to go into hospital just to ensure she was fed - she could not coordinate the turning of the cutlery to get the food into her mouth and the ensuing mess was left for hours. She was elderly but proud, and since no-one was available to attend to her bell when she needed either assistance to the loo or a bedpan, she tried to haul herself there. She fell in the process and it caused a cerebral bleed that killed her.
    Her daughters, who never visited, did not complain or follow it up. They took the inheritance and ran.
    These are not isolated cases.

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