Tuesday, 13 May 2014

'Watchdog attacks neglect of elderly hospital patients (Royal Edinburgh)', Tuesday 13 May 2014, Herald Scotland

Herald Scotland article 'Watchdog attacks neglect of elderly hospital patients', Tuesday 13 May 2014, by @HelenPuttick

"A health watchdog has sent a damning report to NHS Lothian about the treatment of patients with dementia symptoms at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital.

It comes just months after figures revealed hospitals were finding it harder to discharge patients. In February, it emerged the number of patients stuck in hospital beds for weeks because of care shortages in the community had risen 165%.

The Mental Welfare Commission document raises concerns that people are spending months on the Royal Edinburgh's wards with little to do there, leaving them in a distressed state, because of the lack of care homes.

Staff shortages and the prescription of powerful sedatives to patients are also highlighted as issues in a covering letter to NHS Lothian chief executive Tim Davison."

"Relatives of Peter O'Malley, of Haymarket, who died at the Morningside hospital, obtained the documents under Freedom of Information legislation. Edinburgh Carers Council, an independent advocacy service, has also written to the hospital's management with its concerns about the wards.

Catherine Thompson, Mr O'Malley's daughter, said: "My father experienced significantly poor care while trapped in that hospital. His clothes were lost and he suffered repeated falls. Other families and vulnerable elderly people should not have to share our experiences. They deserve to be treated with dignity."

'Hospital was the scariest thing I've ever seen' - The daughters' lament:
Mr O'Malley's daughters (Herald photo)

"Mrs Thompson says: "It was his worst fear that one day he would go to hospital and never get out. The hospital was like One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. It was the scariest thing I have ever seen."

She says the family were given no information about what to expect after his admission, and the state of the hospital and lack of activities left their father distressed and despondent. 

Mr O'Malley described counting the leaves on the trees he could see through windows because he was so bored."

[my opinion: yet again it seems the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland are wise after the event.  It takes family members to highlight the human rights issues of psychiatric patients before the commission does anything]

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