Wednesday, 29 August 2007

humour bypass

So. Where were we? Ranting about the NHS I think.

After speaking to Ma last night, it transpires that Pa has TWO largely-antibiotic-resistant infections. A UTI and a chest infection. He is having intravenous antibiotics of Agent Orange status, that have to be especially sanctioned by someone important in the pharmacy at the hospital. He is quite weak physically and has been suffering from dehydration, because between Ma and Sister-Natalie going in at lunch-time and tea-time to feed him, respectively, no-one seems to be giving him anything to drink.

He can't use his hands very well, even to hold a cup or a fork and no-one will sit him up or help him out of bed, because the electric hoist on the ward is broken and the nurses are not allowed to lift people.

Yesterday the physio came (with a hoist-thingy) and got him out of bed to sit in the chair. She put his knee-brace (his knee has basically disintegrated because of arthritis) on the wrong leg, back to front.

He has been taken off most of his medication because the fourteen different things he was on, including warfrin, were probably contributing to the stomach bleeding - so his circulation is fucked and his feet were really painful all the time he was sitting out - no-one's fault, that, just the situation. Presumably at some point, if he survives the lack of personal care, they will start re-introducing things one at a time and see what happens.

He wears two hearing aids and the hospital managed to lose the mould on the right-hand one the second day that he was in there, just over three weeks ago. No-one has been able to find it and despite the audiology department being five minutes walk down the corridor, a replacement has not yet been found. Because it is his 'good' ear that is missing the aid, he is having quite a lot of trouble hearing what people are saying to him, which is giving the staff the impression that he is wandering in his mind rather than merely deaf.

No-one seems to read the notes that previous staff have written up, although everyone seems to write reams and reams of stuff themselves. Some of it patently big fat lies - like, apparently, last Thursday, he sat out during the afternoon. Sister-Natalie was there at lunchtime to feed him and Ma went in mid-afternoon and stayed until early evening. He wasn't sat out then. So when WAS he sat out? And Ma was verbally told that he had fallen out of bed on Monday night - but in the notes, it said that he had a very quiet and peaceful night.

I am SO FUCKING ANGRY. And I am so sorry to be stirring up all these horrors for some of the people who have left me comments.

What kind of Health Service do we actually have? A SHIT one, if you don't mind me saying so. Surely feeding people, toileting them, helping them sit up, making sure that they can drink, even communicating with them are all an integral part of nursing? Giving them tablets, sticking needles in them, prescribing, cutting them open - all vital, necessary parts of medical care. But the rest of it - if you like, the soothing the troubled brow part of it - why are nurses too busy and/or important to do that? And don't get me started on the lack of hand-washing as the staff move from patient to patient, particularly given that Pa has a huge notice in red letters saying INFECTION CONTROL stuck up above his bed.

Why aren't there more nurses? I concur with Z's comment on my last post - some of it is lack of inclination on the staff's part - some of them DO see elderly people as bed-blockers. And I think, generally the NHS as a whole sees elderly people as a nuisance. But some of it is that although the staff are kind, caring people, they simply don't have the time. And the simple remedy for that is more staff, paid a decent wage to do an essential job.

I rarely wish people ill. But do you know, I really hope that the Department of Health Ministers end up in a recovery ward for elderly people with no family to visit them, lying in their own urine, unable to sit up, with their food and drink placed on a wheeled table six inches away from their hands. Of course, their opinion about the state of the NHS and the levels of care won't matter then, because they'll be old. And good luck to them.

22 comments:

  1. Oh shit. I'm so sorry to hear this, Ally. Completely agree with you - is utterly crap system, and I can only sympathise.

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  2. Oh shit. I'm so sorry to hear this, Ally. Completely agree with you - is utterly crap system, and I can only sympathise.

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  3. I'm sorry to hear this Ally. My granny is currently "bed blocking" too - though she genuinely *is* wandering in her mind. We haven't been so unimpressed with the nurses (she's been assigned a "minder" to stop her harrassing other patients and given that, and the fact that she assaulted one nurse, breaking her glasses with her orange-juice bottle (to which we secretly go GO GRANNY but outwardly disapprove of course)they've been great). But do not get me started on social services.
    Hope you get him fit and out of there asap. xxx

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  4. I'm sorry to hear this Ally. My granny is currently "bed blocking" too - though she genuinely *is* wandering in her mind. We haven't been so unimpressed with the nurses (she's been assigned a "minder" to stop her harrassing other patients and given that, and the fact that she assaulted one nurse, breaking her glasses with her orange-juice bottle (to which we secretly go GO GRANNY but outwardly disapprove of course)they've been great). But do not get me started on social services.
    Hope you get him fit and out of there asap. xxx

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  5. Yes - oh shit!
    My best to you and your Mum while all this crap is going on and, of course to your Dad that he's home again soon.
    From personal experience, most of the nursing staff in the NHS are very nice and do the best they can under almost impossible working conditions. Of course, that's very little consolation to patients and their relatives.

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  6. Yes - oh shit!
    My best to you and your Mum while all this crap is going on and, of course to your Dad that he's home again soon.
    From personal experience, most of the nursing staff in the NHS are very nice and do the best they can under almost impossible working conditions. Of course, that's very little consolation to patients and their relatives.

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  7. I am so sorry to hear this. On the occassion I have been to hospital myself, I was in A & E. I felt so guilty as I was patched up and sent out of there in touble quick time, whereas the people in the beds next to me were waiting for help.

    You're in my thoughts

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  8. I am so sorry to hear this. On the occassion I have been to hospital myself, I was in A & E. I felt so guilty as I was patched up and sent out of there in touble quick time, whereas the people in the beds next to me were waiting for help.

    You're in my thoughts

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  9. Wifey and I have only had three positive interfaces with the NHS.

    The family plannic clinic have been brilliant,
    The doctors and Midwifes at Brighton and the Peadeatric hospital in Brighton.

    Other than that they have been useless - Even Bupa have been crap for Wifey's illnesses, but Worthing maternity department really have to take the buscuit for being shit.

    I wish your father well, mine is declining at the moment, and all the best for the birth of your baby. You really don't need this right now do you! You need everyone to instill a sense professionalism in you.

    My thoughts are with you. - Oh and don't forget to fight for your rights!

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  10. Wifey and I have only had three positive interfaces with the NHS.

    The family plannic clinic have been brilliant,
    The doctors and Midwifes at Brighton and the Peadeatric hospital in Brighton.

    Other than that they have been useless - Even Bupa have been crap for Wifey's illnesses, but Worthing maternity department really have to take the buscuit for being shit.

    I wish your father well, mine is declining at the moment, and all the best for the birth of your baby. You really don't need this right now do you! You need everyone to instill a sense professionalism in you.

    My thoughts are with you. - Oh and don't forget to fight for your rights!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I can sympathise, hospitals and parents can be a real nightmare. Thing is, most nurses are paid decently now, but they are spread too thin, plus though reorganisations and health and safety they just aren't allowed to do traditional nursing like sitting someone up and feeding them. Its a nonsense.

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  12. I can sympathise, hospitals and parents can be a real nightmare. Thing is, most nurses are paid decently now, but they are spread too thin, plus though reorganisations and health and safety they just aren't allowed to do traditional nursing like sitting someone up and feeding them. Its a nonsense.

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  13. What a horror story. That's really appalling and upsetting, Ally. I'm redoubling my prayers for your dad, and all your family.

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  14. What a horror story. That's really appalling and upsetting, Ally. I'm redoubling my prayers for your dad, and all your family.

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  15. What Hedgewizard said honey. Sadly there are only two ways to get what you want - or have any chance - when the NHS screws up:

    1. Know someone 'senior' in the medical world who can kick ass. Consultant level or above. Do you? Rack your brains.

    2. Make a f**king big fuss.

    I think your observations are right. The problem is partly the number of nurses, but actually far more importantly, their sense of what the hell their job is. I do know there are good people out there, caring, compassionate nurses, still - but there are far far too many badly trained, badly paid nurses who couldn't really give a toss, who work the hours, who just don't 'get' it. They say the return of Ward Sisters is an attempt to restore a bit of pride in the whole nursing thing. I bloody hope so.

    Geriatric care in this country is f**king disgrace. My elderly father in law had a major heart operation, from which he nearly died. He was left to stew in his bed in a dirty ward in the Bristol Royal Infirmary, needing help to eat, unwashed etc, whilst the nurses sat on their backsides in the nursing station filing their bloody nails. I saw it happen.

    (PS Honey - have taken my blog back to invitation only, and have invited you (as before)...have a look in your mail box)

    Jo (was - innergirl, now everywhereandalways)

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  16. What Hedgewizard said honey. Sadly there are only two ways to get what you want - or have any chance - when the NHS screws up:

    1. Know someone 'senior' in the medical world who can kick ass. Consultant level or above. Do you? Rack your brains.

    2. Make a f**king big fuss.

    I think your observations are right. The problem is partly the number of nurses, but actually far more importantly, their sense of what the hell their job is. I do know there are good people out there, caring, compassionate nurses, still - but there are far far too many badly trained, badly paid nurses who couldn't really give a toss, who work the hours, who just don't 'get' it. They say the return of Ward Sisters is an attempt to restore a bit of pride in the whole nursing thing. I bloody hope so.

    Geriatric care in this country is f**king disgrace. My elderly father in law had a major heart operation, from which he nearly died. He was left to stew in his bed in a dirty ward in the Bristol Royal Infirmary, needing help to eat, unwashed etc, whilst the nurses sat on their backsides in the nursing station filing their bloody nails. I saw it happen.

    (PS Honey - have taken my blog back to invitation only, and have invited you (as before)...have a look in your mail box)

    Jo (was - innergirl, now everywhereandalways)

    ReplyDelete
  17. I do sympathise, I'm dreading the time when I have to face this problem. Whenever I've had to take my children to hospital most of the nurses have been nice and kind but many are also utterly incompetent and inefficient. The least effective ones always look harried because they have to do everything at least twice; they messed it up the first time. In fact when they only do something twice it's because they've given up and just left it upside down, back to front or not working properly.
    You don't get the impression they are particularly interested in medicine. They're more like keen amateurs than professionals. I expect there are nurses who read the British Journal of Nursing rather than Hello but I bet there aren't many.

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  18. I do sympathise, I'm dreading the time when I have to face this problem. Whenever I've had to take my children to hospital most of the nurses have been nice and kind but many are also utterly incompetent and inefficient. The least effective ones always look harried because they have to do everything at least twice; they messed it up the first time. In fact when they only do something twice it's because they've given up and just left it upside down, back to front or not working properly.
    You don't get the impression they are particularly interested in medicine. They're more like keen amateurs than professionals. I expect there are nurses who read the British Journal of Nursing rather than Hello but I bet there aren't many.

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  19. Jesus wept, sweetie, what a load of shite. You SO dont need this just now, and your poor Dad - unbelieavable. I just don't know what to say.

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  20. Jesus wept, sweetie, what a load of shite. You SO dont need this just now, and your poor Dad - unbelieavable. I just don't know what to say.

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  21. Both my wife and I were nurses (my wife now works for a popular NHS run phone service).

    We both left hospital nursing because it had become an intolerable place to work.

    When we trained there were staff and students in abundance, but over the years the amount of emphasis on providing good basic patient care has diminished - mainly due to the target drive culture that the government has introduced.

    Nurses are also responsible for this mess, as they didn't put a stop to it when they could have - they actually helped introduce it. Lured as they were by the promise of professional status and more glamorous jobs (like taking blood - which was always the preserve of the doctors).

    I really feel for you, and fear any relative of mine getting sick. Frankly there is so much wrong with the NHS I cannot even begin to think how I could write it all down. And that's one of the main reasons nothing is getting better. Because there is not clearly defined reason why it's all gone to shit. This is why the government is happy to let nurses squabble about pay, or waiting lists or A&E - it detracts from the enormity of the problem and makes complainants look petty.

    Our advice is to try and insure that one of your family members is always on the ward - make a rota. Sounds like you are already doing this.

    As my wife (just said) - those patients who had big families who were always on the wards, bring food, mobilizing the patient - doing the nurses job basically - get better faster.

    Complaining, pulling in favors or making a fuss will not work in the short term, as you cannot magic up resources that do not exist.

    Look after your Dad now, complain later.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Both my wife and I were nurses (my wife now works for a popular NHS run phone service).

    We both left hospital nursing because it had become an intolerable place to work.

    When we trained there were staff and students in abundance, but over the years the amount of emphasis on providing good basic patient care has diminished - mainly due to the target drive culture that the government has introduced.

    Nurses are also responsible for this mess, as they didn't put a stop to it when they could have - they actually helped introduce it. Lured as they were by the promise of professional status and more glamorous jobs (like taking blood - which was always the preserve of the doctors).

    I really feel for you, and fear any relative of mine getting sick. Frankly there is so much wrong with the NHS I cannot even begin to think how I could write it all down. And that's one of the main reasons nothing is getting better. Because there is not clearly defined reason why it's all gone to shit. This is why the government is happy to let nurses squabble about pay, or waiting lists or A&E - it detracts from the enormity of the problem and makes complainants look petty.

    Our advice is to try and insure that one of your family members is always on the ward - make a rota. Sounds like you are already doing this.

    As my wife (just said) - those patients who had big families who were always on the wards, bring food, mobilizing the patient - doing the nurses job basically - get better faster.

    Complaining, pulling in favors or making a fuss will not work in the short term, as you cannot magic up resources that do not exist.

    Look after your Dad now, complain later.

    ReplyDelete