South Sefton District Nurse team…

…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…

Aintree university hospital

Aintree University Hospital

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. 

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10 Comments

  1. I have no words, rendered speechless by what I already know to be true… When your very personal wellbeing becomes the property of someone not getting paid enough, you are at the mercy of those one or two caring souls left. If there are any. It’s hideous & I feel queasy just reading this. I have no words (my words are so literally failing me a lot lately, when it comes to matters that touch me deeply…) but my heart goes out to all of you… A complaint really never ever makes up for the misery already caused… <3 <3 <3 strong healing vibes to your aunt, and hope and heart to you & Dorothy…

    • Thanks so much <3 your hope and heart are felt and received gratefully. As was your AWESOME card. When I'm home I'll scan it, coz it's wonderful.
      You say you have no words, but I think that you describe it perfectly. xox

  2. Omg, Sand that is shocking!:(
    You so have to complain about this,as if not this will just carry on with other poor patients suffering due to neglect of care.Hugs to you all,hope she is now getting the care she/we all deserve.

    • Thanks Shelly <3 yeah, I know, and I will get the letter to PALS shortly. I found a site for NHS complaints too, but I do truly wonder what difference we can make 🙁 Thanks for your comment and offer of help, MUCH appreciated. X

  3. Elaine Sheldrake

    Sandra, way back in May your Aunt and I were comparing photos of her leg rash and a rash I had on my arm, I still have those photos on my phone if you need them for evidence. The state of her legs has been going far too long and in my opinion further investigations should have taken place to find out why she was, despite so called treatment, getting worse and not better. Please give her a very gentle hug from me and tell her to get well soon as we have a lot of lunches and days out to fit in next year when I move back home again xxx

    • Thanks Elaine <3 will do 🙂
      The staff were so appalled on Ward 11 that they took a photo of how it was, and then another when they were getting much better and HAD THEM ON DISPLAY as you went into the ward! Haze has some too, those together with yours will help if we ever decide to take this further. If you could email it to me? Maybe use facebook messenger? Thanks. X

  4. Sand! This is truly terrible and I am so sorry to hear of this degree of neglect. unbelievable!

    the fact that you are saying, “Luckily she fell on Tuesday morning and was taken to A&E in an ambulance” is crazy…LUCKILY she fell?!!??

    and yes, it was fortunate, in a twisted way as she was able to get the care she deserved and needed from the hospital. again, unbelievable that you are all going through this. I am glad she is getting better care, and in a better environment overall.

    I truly hope that something positive comes out of this horrid situation, in that care improves for others. My heart goes to you and your aunt. Healing and loving vibes from across the pond,

    xo

    sandy

    • Thanks so much Sandy xxx
      Alas, as you now know, the care is turning out to be just a patchy in the hospital *sigh*. I’m sure a big chunk of the problem is funding. There just aren’t enough beds or staff 🙁
      It would be fabulous if this horror story could result in something positive, but I won’t hold my breath…it’s happened to my family so many times 🙁

  5. So sad, Sand. I add my love and hugs, and warm healing thoughts from across the pond as well. I so wish Hazel would find herself with a nurse like my darling daughter, who cares so deeply for her elder clients, loves them like they are her family, and advocates every day for their well-being. xoxo, kath.

    • Thanks so much Kath, not least for the reminder that there ARE nurses who go into the profession because they have a vocation, and CARE. Things have altered drastically in nursing here over the years, and not for the better. Sure hope its better in other countries, what you say makes me hopeful that it is.
      There ARE lovely nurses here, its just that, sadly, they are now in the minority.
      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting, i really do appreciate it and am sorry (to you and everyone) for how long its taken me to reply.
      Heartfelt (((hugs)))

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