A SHEFFIELD pensioner ‘lost all of her dignity’ and was left lying semi-naked in a dirty bed by staff at a city hospital, her shocked family have said.
Grace Francis, aged 74, from Firshill, was admitted to the Northern General in Fir Vale with a suspected gall bladder infection and given a place on the Surgical Assessment Unit.
But when her son Jason Steers, 38, and his partner Janine Elwood paid her a visit, they found Grace in an ‘appalling state’, lying in her own urine, wearing a day-old incontinence pad and with her nightgown pulled up.
Janine, 39, said the couple were ‘very distressed’ and they have made a formal complaint.
“She lost all of her dignity, we were distraught and angry,” she added.
The hospital has issued an apology and promised to ‘take any appropriate actions’ to stop a similar situation happening again.
It comes just days after The Star reported how 78-year-old Gordon Seaman died on a busy ward at dinner time and his relatives could not grieve in private.
Janine said widowed Grace, a former nurse at Sheffield’s old Middlewood Hospital, was taken by ambulance to the Northern General last Monday feeling poorly.
She was seen in accident and emergency before being transferred to the SAU, where Jason and Janine saw her at visiting time the next day.
Janine said: “When I looked over I could see her nightgown was up to her chest. There were no curtains around her and there was a patient opposite. I said to Jason, ‘Why is she like this?’
“She had her legs hanging over the bed – I mentioned this to the nurses and they said ‘That’s the way she feels comfortable’.
“Me and Jason went to put her back in the bed properly. All her sheets were wet, she was laid in her own urine and had the same pad from the day before.
“She couldn’t eat what they were offering, either, so I had to bring in soup.”
The couple refused to leave ‘until Grace got the care she needed’.
Janine added: “We both agreed we will be making a formal complaint. I’m not a professional, but if I was a nurse and I’d seen something like this, I would have pulled the curtain around a bit, but there was nothing like that. She was bare for everyone to see.”
Grace is now recovering at home.
Hilary Chapman, chief nurse at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have apologised to Mrs Francis and her family for not meeting the normal high standard of care we would expect. Our staff work hard to ensure patient’s privacy and dignity is respected and so we were very upset to hear about the situation in which Mr Steers found his mother during a visit to the ward.
“As soon as we were made aware of the issues raised by Mrs Francis’ family, we arranged to meet with them and we are currently looking into what happened and why. We now intend to take any appropriate actions to limit the chances of this regrettable situation occurring again.”
FEWER hospitals are respecting people’s privacy and dignity, according to a review by the health watchdog.
The national study by the Care Quality Commission found 82 per cent of hospitals were meeting patients’ needs last year, compared to 88 per cent in 2011. Inspectors saw call bells unanswered, leaving people without help to get to the toilet and lacking support for other needs.
There were also improvements needed in some care homes, the review found.