…have a lot on their conscience, because things are bad. They’ve been ‘caring’ for my aunt daily…but when she had a fall last week and went to hospital to get checked for injuries, they admitted her, but it had nothing to do with the fall…
My aunt has been under the ‘care’ of the district nurse (DN) system due to sores on her lower legs. The range in quality of that care has been so extreme that her condition has worsened…though recent DN’s hadn’t noticed this. In fact one said to her on Monday as she ripped the dressings off (painfully ripping fragile skin off too): “There’s no reason for you to be getting this upset, I think you’re clinically depressed, get your GP to give you antidepressants.”
Such quality care, compassion and insight eh?
Luckily she fell on Tuesday morning and was taken to A&E in an ambulance…
…where she was admitted to hospital with MRSA, and the leg wounds that they were meant to be looking after had been so badly tended to that if she hadn’t happened to have the fall that day, gangrene would have set in. (They’re taking swabs from all over the legs every day and as far as I know it’s still ’just’ MRSA.) There’s still a risk that she’ll loose her legs.
When the nurse at the hospital slowly and carefully removed the dressings from both her legs, she was so horrified at their condition she advised us to make an official complaint.
The DN who visited the house on Monday is the one who causes me most concern, not only was her attitude unacceptable but she was clearly negligent as she:
– failed to clean the wounds with saline (though she wrote that she had in the notes. Alas she was not the first one to be economical with the truth on this detail. It was rare for the wounds to be cleaned.)
– she ripped off a lot of skin due to lack of care when removing the dressings and
– failed to notice that the condition of the wounds and my aunt’s health in general was a cause for concern.
Part of the reason the A&E staff were concerned about her even before they took the dressings off was due to her colour, inability to stand unaided and the condition of her eyes: yellow and protruding.
Even I know what yellow tinged skin means, yes that’s right folks, her kidneys are failing.
Want more horror?
The DN at the weekend failed to follow instructions regarding my aunts skin allergies (burns have been caused twice before due to their use of the wrong dressings, despite them being available, and supervisory visits being made as a consequence. This was not a new development and my aunt told the DN that she hadn’t dressed her legs correctly. She was ignored.) So my poor aunt’s tender infected skin was yet again exposed to dressings that caused yet more burns to her already compromised lower legs. Her pain is extreme…
Oh and have I mentioned that my aunt has diabetes? No? Neither did her DN notes…
I know that the DN’s are only allowed 15 mins per leg (yes, the micro managing here is that bad.) and if it’s a terminal patient they can be there a whole 15 mins longer! So clearly part of the reason for such poor treatment is that they don’t have enough time to do their job properly. Added to this is the fact that the teams are way too massive to manage effectively, patients never see the same DN regularly so how can a complex case be treated correctly if part of the 15 minutes is spent reading copious notes?
…but none of these factors excuse multiple mistakes, frequently poor care and unkindness.
I was a teacher for almost two decades so I know what pressure is.
I know what dealing with the public is like, what coping with bureaucracy and a myriad of ridiculous constraints is like, and what being expected to do too much with too little is like…
…but I never stopped caring. I never stopped doing my best. In fact I’ve ended up ill and disabled because of it and even with hindsight I wouldn’t change my behaviour. I couldn’t be uncaring towards anyone under my care.
I’m drafting a letter with our concerns for the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) at the hopsital and hopefully they can advise us about what to do next.