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It seems inconceivable that anyone could starve to death in hospital
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Posted December 23, 2012 at 3:28PM
I have been amongst similar patients in hospital and witnessed care that needed the patience of a saint.
Equally, at no time did I see anyone receive help in eating their food and much of it was later collected almost untouched.
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Posted December 23, 2012 at 3:35PM
Fluids are not 'withdrawn' from patients in that context - the patients withdraw themselves, as it were, by ceasing to be able to eat or drink.
We're talking about people who are in the process of dying, and although they can be hydrated intravenously that isn't a solution if they will never drink again. The guiding ethos is one of deciding whether or not the continuation of medication and other treatment is conferring any benefit, and if it isn't and may be discontinued without causing pain or discomfort the decision may be taken.
Some people talk about the LCP as if it involves killing patients, but that's not the case at all.
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Posted December 23, 2012 at 3:38PM
"....at no time did I see anyone receive help in eating their food"
I did, every day. Perhaps I was just lucky, and was in a particularly good hospital.
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Posted December 23, 2012 at 3:47PM
My father had to go into Hospital last year he is blind and deaf.
In the first ward he was put in the food was just dumped on his table - he was not told it was there even though his plaque clearly stated his condition.
A while later it was removed as he had not touched it when we got there that evening he had had nothing all day and we were told nothing was available so I had to go out and buy sandwiches.
He was then move to a different ward, here they obviously were used to dealing with elderly and he couldn't have been treated better.
I found it difficult to understand how there could be such diverse care in the same hospital.
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Posted December 23, 2012 at 4:16PM
I think it does depend very much on the staff at the particular hospital you are in. When my father had a serious stroke he was in hospital for three weeks and received very good care.
When three years later and after his condition had deteriorated he was hospitalised again with peripheral vascular disease, whilst in hospital he caught MRSA and was moved to a side room, one day when we visited we found him sat in a chair facing the wall with his gangrenous left leg sat in a pool of fluid on the floor and his medication (tablets) spilt across the same dirty floor.
He had not eaten or been given water until our arrival late in the afternoon, I complained to his named nurse and was told that my father was a difficult patient because he could not communicate! I won't bore you all with the extremely long and ultimately fruitless complaints procedure we went through, save to say that we had my father moved to a small cottage hospital where he was to have his gangrenous leg amputated.
Fortunately (for him) after slipping into a coma he did not regain conciousness and died three weeks after his admittance to this small specialist unit, where up until his death he received excellent care!
This was ten years ago, my mother who is 85 is due for a knee replacement operation on the 15th January. She will be having this operation in a private hospital, I shall be very interested to observe the contrast (if any) in her care compared to my late father's.
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Posted December 23, 2012 at 5:10PM
FE, I can assure you that your good experience was unlikely to be representative of the overall situation
The Liverpool Care Pathway is a much misunderstood and often maligned process. There is always the possibility that some healthcare workers do not stick entirely to its ethos. A good description here http://tinyurl.com/bmd5gmo
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Posted December 23, 2012 at 9:48PM
I have found the treatment I have had in hospital to be excellent. I had a new knee fitted 20 years ago. It is still working fine and I have never had any trouble with it at all. That was on the NHS. The nursing staff were excellent and the food was bloody awful.
However, a couple of years ago I had an operation on my spine. It was done privately because I couldn't stand the back pain any longer and couldn't wait even the couple of weeks I was promised it would be done on by the NHS. So I paid to have it done privately two days later. I was in and out of the hospital in less than 24 hours, the food was brilliant but I only experienced one meal. I now feel I was rushed in and out and that ended up being detrimental to my recovery. In fact I have never recovered properly. I now think if I had managed to wait and been done on the NHS I would have got better after treatment in the way of physiotherapy etc. I don't think I will ever be pain free now. But at least I am able to walk with the aid of a walking stick. Prior to the operation I wasn't able to walk at all and I couldn't sleep because of the pain, so I suppose I should be grateful. I can sleep o.k. Now providing I remember to take my morphine laced drug every evening. If I forget, I get withdrawal symptoms. I have managed to get my GP to reduce the strength of the drug but that has resulted in an increase in the pain. My GP has sent me to the local pain clinic and they have tried all sorts of pain killing injections without result. I can't win.
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Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:19PM
The problem with these type of incidents, is that it can happen all to often, but is not reported until something drastic happens, or someone decides to get a bad reputation as a possible 'whistle-blower'.
Where I live, there are 3 major NHS Trust hospitals, at least 3 'cottage' hospitals and 3 private hospitals. Over the past two years, I have been involved with various treatments and short term stays involving the three major hospitals, which will include further appointments in the New Year. During those stays and consultations, a number of complaints were being aired by the public about various things happening at those three hospitals, to the point that investigations were conducted. I would also add, that there was also praise given in some quarters.
Due to a number of incidents that happened to me, and others, I was approached by the Trusts director's, the Trusts Watchdog and the local newspaper. Its a long story, but some changes have already been made, and others are soon to follow. The thing that I would say at this stage, was the agreement, that those in charge didn't really know the full stories, until it was pointed out to them?.
One thing that did come out of this, was the way meals and drinks were or were not being provided, and each hospital seemed to have totally different ways of dealing with this in their own management line or system. A trial scheme at one hospital is in progress with very good results, and I am now told it will most likely extend throughout the Trust. It all comes down to meals now being available 'on-tap' with a good selection and variety based on something like this http://www.wiltshirefarmfoods.com
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Posted December 24, 2012 at 8:02PM
For the last nine months or so I have been in and out of a major hospital including 3 weeks in critical care where the treatment was excellent if somewhat painful at times.
I then transferred to an ordinary ward and again the treatment was excellent.
Then I had to return because of complications. I could not believe just how much the standards had fallen.
I managed to escape from that ward and just last week I was recalled into hospital again. A different ward this time and the staff are great.
I am presently out on day release for Christmas and will have to return tomorrow.
My only complaint this time is the food. If you like baked potatoes (choice of four fillings) every day for lunch it is great. The alternative is sandwiches with an optional salad.
The evening meal is very similar to the lunch menu.
I probably won't be around this forum to answer any queries as I go back in to hospital tomorrow.
All I would say is that the staff make or break the ward. The difference between two wards in the same hospital has to be seen to be believed.
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