MY heart went out to Hazel Hanley when I read her letter in the Observer, August 12.
My 91-year-old mother had the misfortune to be admitted to Benson Ward at the Conquest Hospital in October 2009.
She was suffering from a recurring urinary tract infection and was admitted to the hospital so they could find an antibiotic that would help her condition; she had become resistant to the usual medication administered for this problem.
This type of infection causes confusion in the elderly so imagine my surprise when I was telephoned several times by the staff on the ward to say, my mother was very confused and would I speak to her and explain why she was in hospital.
The staff seemed puzzled as to why she was confused as there had been no mention of dementia on her notes.
My mother wasn’t eating or drinking and was soaking wet each time I visited; I was changing her trying to make her comfortable.
There didn’t seem to be any attempt to encourage her to eat or drink and neither the doctor nor I were aware she wasn’t taking her tablets.
Mum was admitted to the ward on Tuesday, by Sunday she was curled up in bed deteriorating fast.
We were convinced that she was deemed to be too old and they were leaving her to die. I asked for her to be transferred back to Clyde House nursing home were she had been resident for several months.
I didn’t want her to die on that awful ward, I knew at the nursing home she would have much better care.
Mum was moved back to the home on the Monday evening at 9pm.
She arrived at the home confused, dehydrated, in a much worse state than she had left on the Tuesday.
The wonderful staff at the home spent time with her got her to eat drink and take her tablets and in less than a week she was sitting up in her chair laughing and talking. Mum died in April 2010 her last six months were happy and comfortable and when she died I was there and so were the staff who cared for her and loved her.
I would never have allowed her to be sent back to that ward.
I must make it clear that in other parts of the hospital, especially A&E, the treatment my family and I have received has been fantastic, but the treatment and care of elderly patients needs to be improved.