- Datsiyane Navanaygam and Emma Forde
- bbc file 4
Heather Lawrence was shocked when she visited her mother, Violet, 90, at a hospital in Manchester, England.
Heather told the BBC: “The bed and incontinence diaper was soaked in urine. The door was wide open, and she was not wearing underwear. She was also in a mixed male and female room.”
“There were other people out there who could see him in that state. My mom wouldn’t want him to look that way.”
Violet, suffering from dementia, was taken to Tameside General Hospital in May 2021 after a collapse.
Violet’s condition worsened in the hospital: prolonged exposure to urine resulted in swelling of her groin and the development of a rash from that spot to her abdomen.
He died a few weeks later.
“I feel like her dignity has been taken away from her. And that happens to a lot of dementia patients. I feel like they stop caring about them, they think they’re unimportant — and that’s not true.” ,” Heather says.
Violet’s case is not unique to the NHS, the UK public health system.
A new report released exclusively on the program file on 4 From BBC Radio 4, it was found that other dementia patients had similar treatment, which the authors considered “ineligible”.
‘they need help’
Researcher Katie Featherstone from West London University’s Geller Institute for Aging and Memory analyzed incontinence care for patients with dementia at three hospitals in England and Wales over a year.
The study was funded by the health research agencies of the National Institute of Health and Care Research, UK.
In the report, she says she found patients who were not helped to go to the bathroom – and who were left wet and dirty, exposed to their own excrement.
“We identified a widespread practice: the daily use of diapers or incontinence pads in the care of all people with dementia, regardless of their ability to retain urine,” explains Featherstone.
She also found that most patients on the NHS were treated well, but pressure and staff shortages meant many caregivers were forced to use diapers or sanitary pads as an “alternative solution”. went.
When 86-year-old Bessie was taken to Rotherham General Hospital after she collapsed at home in 2019, she was still able to go to the bathroom on her own.
Despite this, their daughters Janine Ward and Susan Norden say, the team did not respond when Bessie asked to go to the bathroom.
Unbeknownst to the daughters, the hospital also kept incontinence pads. “There was no way for my mother to go to the bathroom,” says Janine.
“She knew what she was doing. She would make a lot of noise if she wanted to go to the bathroom, and if no one helped her, she would panic and scream for someone to come.”
Bessie should have been referred to specialist incontinence staff in a special NHS unit in the area.
Later, Janine and Susan realized that their mother’s ability to go to the bathroom alone, along with her fragile mobility, were two factors that put her at risk for another fall at home.
The daughters wanted their mothers to move to a nursing home closer to the family, but the hospital and social services disagreed.
He said Bessie was suffering from incontinence and came up with a care plan to provide extra caregivers, toilets and incontinence pads (though that never happened).
At Bessie’s first night home, Janine was with her when the caretaker arrived with a urinal.
Janine says, “They put her in the potty. The curtains in the room were still open. It was a big picture window. I can’t explain how I felt. I said, ‘You put my mom in that ‘bathroom’ Put.” With the curtain open, why didn’t you close it?”
BBC News, the Rotherham Trust and Council, the organization that manages hospitals in the Rotherham area, apologized to Bessie’s family, saying the patient’s care had “later improved.”
Featherstone says people with dementia often forget how to go to the bathroom when forced to use diapers or sanitary pads.
“We know that many people with dementia who are able to go to the bathroom alone leave hospitals with incontinence,” he says.
“So the simple act of using sanitary napkins and the practices surrounding it can mean that people begin to lose the ability to go to the bathroom when they need to,” he says.
“And it can have real implications for people later on. It can be difficult for families to care for someone if they also have to deal with incontinence. And that can drive these elderly people into nursing homes and nursing homes.” Is. ”
must be well assessed
Professor June Andrews, who has worked in dementia care for more than 30 years, says rigorous incontinence assessments are necessary to avoid guesswork.
“I see documents where someone asked family members whether the patient was incontinence. And all this was done to assess the situation,” she says.
“It is absolutely critical that families know how to ask whether or not incontinence has been assessed and who designed that analysis,”
Karen Harrison Denning, director of research and publications at Dementia UK and co-author of the study, criticized the care given to dementia patients in NHS hospitals.
“People, regardless of their underlying conditions and age, do not come out of the hospital suffering from incontinence,” he says.
“Not only do employees need specific training to promote an individual’s independence, but healthcare organizations must have a commitment and responsibility to maintain an older person’s autonomy.”
have you seen our new videos youtube, Subscribe to our channel!