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To expect proper bedding for dd in hospital

(106 Posts)
endlesstidying Thu 30-Jan-14 21:49:30

Been thinking about this and its still annoying me a week later so thought I'd ask the MN jury.

We had to call an ambulance for dd last week. She was admitted overnight onto the observation ward in the childrens hospital and they finally found her a bed just after midnight. When we got there the bed had a bottom sheet and that was it. She was exhausted by that time so I tucked her up under my coat and went to ask for a blanket and pillow. The nurse said she'd look but wasn't sure if she'd be able to find any and she didn't.

When I went to the toilet I noticed that other children were sleeping under parents coats and no one had pillows. Most of the adults were walking about cubicles as they were cold and the windows were open. The staff said they couldn't close them as they were too high up and it was freezing

Eventually I went back to A&E and asked for loudly demanded blankets and finally got half a dozen and after tucking dd in went along the ward and offered one to each parent who took them happily - this was at about 3 in the morning.

I then got told by a nurse to mind my own business and that I'd get the staff in trouble when tey were only trying to help. She seemed really upset and angry with me to be honest.

Was i being unreasonable? Would you have done the same?

blue88 Fri 07-Feb-14 23:12:42

Nearly every time I have anything to do with an NHS hospital I witness situations like this. Almost everyone I know has had at least one such experience. An elderly relative of mine is currently in a hospital with suspected gangrene in his toes. Every day when I phone I'm told the diagnosis still isn't confirmed as they are still waiting for podiatry and the surgeons to visit - manana, whatever. Yesterday a nurse I spoke to only spoke to me reluctantly, v rushed and brusque - she wanted me to speak to my uncle directly and ask him about whether or not he had gangrene and whether his toes would need amputating! In January, I visited someone else in another hospital and an old man in the next bed was hurriedly discharged in his hospital gown back home where he was living alone - no one knew if his family had been told or whether he even had his keys.
Why should we be so grateful for the NHS? How do they manage in other countries with advanced economies which fund and manage their healthcare differently? I've heard that while these healthcare systems have their share of problems, they are on the whole much more efficient than the NHS!
As a country we are much too dependent on the welfare state.

HotDogHotDogHotDiggityDog Mon 03-Feb-14 14:49:42

I'm not surprised at this. I've worked for the nhs for years, pillows, decent sheets and blankets are like gold dust.

Pillows are a huge problem. Most of the problem on my ward is people being discharged. The ambulance crew turn up with stretchers with one pillow, our patients (geriatric medicine) quite often need two/three pillows so we send them on with the crew. We never get them back. We then have to pay for more out of our ward budget.
We can sometimes get some from the linen room (if they have spare) but quite often they have to be ordered from the supplier which can take a few days. If it's a high turnover ward, you've got no hope of getting one quickly.

Blankets, pillows and bed sheets - linen services are contracted out. Every hospital is allocated a certain amount per week. Some are kept in reserve in the main stores. Again, if there is a high turnover of patients, we can go through our allocated amount quickly. As you can imagine on a geriatric ward, we go through loads because patients can soil them or get food/drink on them frequently.

Most wards are fiercely protective of their stock. We ring other wards all the time but they often say they have no stock, even when they have a cupboard full.

It usually takes a complaint to upper management (if you can get hold of them) to get some.

It's a pain in the arse!

SusanneLinder Mon 03-Feb-14 13:29:00

To the parents that say they aren't allowed to leave their children in paed wards, er I would be complaining. My DD is a student paed nurse, and one of her jobs was to sit with kids while the parents went for some food/sleep/shower/break.

As someone further up said, paed nurses are in locos parentis, so they cannot tie you to your childs bed.Ridiculous.

MiaowTheCat Mon 03-Feb-14 13:12:07

I must have had all the NHS pillows when I was in with DD2 then - they kept on bringing me the buggers - I had about three, kept putting one on the chair by the bed as they were too many... so they'd see I only had two and brought me MORE!

IceBeing Mon 03-Feb-14 10:50:29

I am just shock at this whole thread....the lack of blankets and the thefts.

How can people be SO stupid as to steal from the NHS?!?!?

ProfPlumSpeaking Mon 03-Feb-14 10:28:29

Thanks for the heads up everyone. Non standard sized pillows, to be stored separately from the non standard sized pillow cases sounds like a good idea. I am not sure how hideous you could make the linen, mind, as the patients need to feel comfortable, but a prominent marking (consistent with boil washing) would seem like another good idea. I will talk to the man in charge of procurement and see if it could be feasible - any extra cost should be cancelled out with reduced theft you would think (but may be under different cost centres which always causes problems).

I will suggest a survey question (we are always doing surveys) to be included in the next survey, about theft to get more of an idea of the problem.

missingmumxox Mon 03-Feb-14 00:58:06

Prof plum, it is so wide spread, as a nurse you don't even find it shocking, I remember reporting to the nurse in charge the linen room had been striped bare, just because it meant we couldn't do any if the beds, and it had been timed for handover as on my way into the ward for 7.30 I had gone to help another nurse with a pt who had been incontinant, grabbed some linen, changed the bed with her, 15 mins later after handover went to get the linen for my 6 patient (them where the days 2 people per 6 and we didn't do drips,bloods or cannulas, and you would have a couple of self careers.... And still rushed off your feet)
And the room was bare.
I has my belt Buckel stolen, when I took it off to assist in a tricky manuver when a lady fell and somehow got wedged under her bed, I placed it on the locker, her family where there, my and the Dr got her out, back in bed, I turned round to pick my belt and Buckle up and they had gone, I searched about, but gave up witnessing smerks between the family, as a nurse you are not allowed to accuse anybody of anything appart from abuse or theft to a patient.
I reported this to my ward manager and she bless her instigated an immediate ward move of said patient which resulted in the removal of everything it wasn't found.
Basically as a nurse you suck it up, if a patient loses a ring, the family will say it must have been staff... How many reports if ring theft have you seen? I saw a few always families, I would intervene and say "gosh that looks loose, let me put it in pt property for you "
After a year as a student I would test rings on people and if they could come off, they did straight into pt property, even though I know how important wedding rings are to people to wear...
Don't be sip prised if staff look blankly at you, it's like violence against staff, I remember doing a survey and laughing.. Violence against me it's never happened, then thinking oh the lady who stabbed me with the folk, and the one who grabbed me by my apron, and the relative you backed me into a corner jabbing me.... To name a few

Jabbed all NHS property is marked, when I worked on community I would enter house after house with NHS marked stuff, my gave was a friend who said the entire household was curtisey of the NHS including tv with little sign saying, property of NHS donated to x ward by the league of friends.

You can't report because as a nurse you have to treat your patient not judge and not hinder care , best way to discribe it is we are like priests. In many ways this is correct, families need to trust you, in many others I just want to shop them the bastards!!!!

endlesstidying Sun 02-Feb-14 19:21:22

Just catching up. Dd was on the observation ward for nearly 10 hours so not a short period of time.

Horrendous to hear about so much stuff being stolen. I admit that when ds was born I accidentally took a blanket home with us but I did return it a few weeks later when I took the midwives boxes of chocolates.

I've written to pals so will waot to see what happens next.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Sun 02-Feb-14 18:58:18

I don't know where pillows go, it's been a problem in every nursing job I've had, as has stuff being stolen.

Sometimes the timing of the linen delivery affects it. There's been numerous times we've phoned the linen room asking for linen as we've run out and I'm not sure what happens on a weekend.

Other wards come and borrow but then that leaves us short. Obviously there are some patients who need more than one pillow so then we're short and some parents want two! We have to say no else there's not enough to go round.

Leaving patients without bedding is unacceptable. If we're short I phone around and borrow but I've had to make pillows out of towels before, it's embarrassing.

Chippednailvarnish Sun 02-Feb-14 18:57:56

Make them absolutely hideous, with "Property of the NHS" in huge letters visible from every angle. Irregularly shaped pillows would also help as regular cases wouldn't fit...

ProfPlumSpeaking Sun 02-Feb-14 18:37:40

I have found this thread illuminating: as an NHS governor myself, I am def going to find out if this is happening under my watch and what, if anything, is being done about it. Anyone have any ideas how to stop the pilfering of linen and pillows as that seems to lie at the heart of the shortages?

glastocat Sun 02-Feb-14 15:48:36

That's outrageous! We are in oz and my son had a spell in hospital recently with a burst appendix. Not only was there a fully stocked linen closet if anyone needed extra bedding or towels (for parents to use for showers too) but also personal DVDs and a DVD library, play stations to borrow, breakfast for parents, and the top floor was a games arcade, craft rooms and teenager hangout. That's how it should be I reckon, alright the games room etc is a luxury but a sheet and pillow isn't!

Wibblypiglikesbananas Sun 02-Feb-14 15:34:10

Horrendous stories. You need to name and shame and get pics into the press as this is sadly the only thing that seems to get a response these days.

Viviennemary Sun 02-Feb-14 15:16:28

YANBU. That's disgraceful. But in no way surprises me I'm afraid. The NHS lost the plot quite a few years ago. IMHO.

BionicEmu Sun 02-Feb-14 15:10:04

A few weeks ago I took 3yo DS to A&E as he was vomiting copiously after hitting his head. After several hours the doctor said he needed to be admitted. A couple of hours later, at about 2am, a nurse came into the waiting room & led us to a side room with a trolley thing in. She explained there were no beds anywhere in the hospital for DS to go to, so we would have to stay there. I asked for at least a blanket, but none could be found.

So poor DS was on the bare vinyl trolley with his coat draped over him. I lay my coat on the floor & just lay down & slept on that. (Plus, I have back issues & could hardly move the next morning).

This was at a new, big hospital. This, in addition to their questionable clinical decisions, means that no way in hell will I be stepping foot in that hospital again.

FanFuckingTastic Sun 02-Feb-14 12:02:53

I am absolutely shocked at how hospital property is treated, I would never think that sort of thing happened. People make charitable donations to help the hospitals have nice facilities, and that is reprehensible behaviour!

SadOldGit Sun 02-Feb-14 11:45:38

I hope your DD is feeling better. I never cease to be amazed at what is stolen. Pillows constantly have to be hunted for (I work in maternity and many women bring in their own pillows - wonder if ours go home as well!) I am based in community and regularly see babies at home wrapped in NHS blankets.

Wheelchairs are constantly stolen - many trusts order ones with welded chassis to prevent them folding to fit in car boots etc.

Where I used to work a flat screen display unit (it was the education centre and displayed the room bookings etc) was ripped off the wall and stolen in broad daylight.

The piece de resistance though was when I worked in a rehab unit and someone stole a piano (full size one) - just wheeled it out and no one blinked - until the next day when someone went to play it and realised it was gone!

FutTheShuckUp Sun 02-Feb-14 11:27:52

One of my patients parents stole a flat screen tv off the wall off the parents room using tools so a pre planned jobby then pushed it out of the hospital in a pushchair under a blanket. People seem to think the nhs is a never ending pot of money but that item was bought from charitable donations to enable parents who's children are in hospital to have a more comfortable stay hmm

thegreylady Sun 02-Feb-14 09:48:24

When I had my op for breast cancer my pre admission letter suggested I brought my own pillows as:"there may not be sufficient to ensure comfort". In the event there were two on the bed but my own gave me flexibilty to be comfortable when propped up.

Misspixietrix Sun 02-Feb-14 09:10:43

They nick the Toilet Roll at the Hospital my Ex works in. It's not even the good sort! confused.

missingmumxox Sun 02-Feb-14 04:01:36

Yes people steal stuff all the time, my post up thread, stated that, 2 linen rooms, and they are rooms, completely striped bare, over the following week almost every ward had this happen.
TV's, wheel chairs, crutches, chairs, food, staff property including food, staff cars in staff car parks, ( pretty safe bet a car parked at 1pm will not be noticed missing unto nearly 10pm, but enough staff leaving between 2 and 4 pm not to arouse suspicion if someone "bump starting" or "lost keys"

Dressings, patient property, flowers, vases, commodes...
You name it it is stollen, hospitals are public spaces and difficult to control.

And people seem to think, it doesn't matter

NoLikeyNoLighty Sun 02-Feb-14 01:24:06

OP, YANDNBU, I'd have done EXACTLY the same. So they gave you blankets at your request? So they had them in the first place, just weren't giving them out unless it was under duress?!
Stuff that.
If it was one of my children in there. I'd be kicking up a right stink until they had adequate covers/bedding!

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Sun 02-Feb-14 01:18:13

Back when DD was born, I was one of the first crop of mothers to use the shiny new Antenatal ward in the local hospital. It was early February and totally freezing! The draft was so bad that the ceiling tiles were lifting and we had one pillow and blanket each. As there weren't many people using the wards yet, we poached all of the bedding from the empty beds, but it was still pretty horrendous. The nurses weren't happy and insisted that they would have to take them back if the beds were needed, there were no spares!
and don't even get me started on the food!

MiscellaneousAssortment Sun 02-Feb-14 00:23:04

It's sad, the NHS routinely fail on the absolute basics of human care, like food, water, hygiene and basic comfort... These are real issues and get ignored in favour of h&s etc.

I know people are protective of the NHS, but giving it godlike status doesn't make it any better.

Marrow Sat 01-Feb-14 23:51:29

YANBU. My prem DS was readmitted to hospital after we had been home for only a week. He was still 4 weeks before his due date. He wasn't even given any sheets as they had run out so they put towels in his cot instead. They also told me that they were running short of the ready made up bottles of formula and suggested I used my own formula. When I asked the nurse if there was a steriliser I could use she told me just to rinse out the bottle. This was for a sick, premature baby FFS!

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