Dementia patient was not cared for in 'dignified manner' before death

NHS Grampian was ordered to apologise after a patient received 'poor' care after being admitted to hospital following a fall at their care home.

NHS Grampian ordered to apologise after dementia patient not cared for in ‘dignified and respectful manner’ Sudok1 via iStock

A health board has been ordered to apologise to the family of a frail dementia patient who was not treated in a “dignified and respectful manner” prior to their death.

A child complained that their parent received “poor” care after being admitted to an NHS Grampian hospital following a fall at their care home, remaining in the hospital until their death.

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) opened an investigation into the complaints with help from independent nursing advice.

The watchdog found that there had been gaps in record-keeping of the patient’s food and fluid intake, adding that the board had failed provide evidence the patient was cared for in a “dignified and respectful” manner.

NHS Grampian responded stating that the nursing care was of reasonable standard but acknowledged failings in their documentation, as well as providing the SPSO with a detail action plan for improvements.

SPSO also found that comfort rounding was not given as frequently as it should have been when taking into account the patient’s “frailty” and general condition.

Records showed that despite the patient suffering from pressure ulcers, the board failed to demonstrate sufficiently frequent skin checks and repositioning.

The board also failed to maintain wound charts, recording wound sizes and grade.

With this evidence the SPSO upheld the complaints, and ordered NHS Grampian to apologise to the late patient’s family for their failings.

The watchdog also gave a list of changes to be implemented including ensuring appropriate pressure ulcer care, and the completion of wound charts.

An NHS Grampian spokesperson said: “We accept the Ombudsman’s findings in this case and have undertaken to complete all the recommendations laid out.

“We wrote to the family to formally apologise, and we would take this opportunity to apologise again, publicly. The care we provided fell short of our own standards.”

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