Clinical Negligence & Catastrophic Injury Solicitors
Liverpool hospital apologises for dementia care failings.
A hospital has apologised to the family of a dementia patient who was "left for hours in his own urine and faeces."
The patient, Khawaja Anwar, 82, who lives with vascular dementia, which can lead to memory loss, was admitted to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital after a fall in which he broke two bones in his pelvis.
His family complained about Mr Anwar's "unacceptable" lack of care and said he was "humiliated" by some carers.
Mr Anwar's wife, Nargis, made a formal complaint to the hospital after she noticed the conditions her husband had to sleep in.
She said: "The physio came and started to move him so he could sit on the edge of the bed before standing him up.
"I saw dry excrement on his gown and it was clear that it had been there for some time. I told the nurse that he was wet and dirty and needed cleaning. The nurse and the physio helped to put a clean sheet on and put him back in bed.”
Mr Anwar's son, Aamer, prominent lawyer and Glasgow University Rector told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the standard of care given to his father was "simply unacceptable.”
He added: "There was another occasion where my father vomited and the auxiliary nurse just sat and watched and did nothing to help my mother clean him up.
“Just because somebody gets old, and lies in a bed and might get dementia, doesn't mean that they don't know how people are dealing with them.
"The NHS is under real pressure; people do very difficult jobs in difficult circumstances, but what these individual members of staff failed to do was a betrayal to the NHS and the values it's supposed to represent."
The issues Mr Khawaja faced at the hospital were explained in the formal complaint from his wife whose letter said: “You wouldn’t expect a parent to allow a toddler to lie in its own vomit or excrement, because that would be seen as abuse, yet staff, who have a duty of care to my husband, did exactly that.”
Speaking of an incident later that day, Mrs Anwar added: “He was covered in faeces again so I cleaned him. No assistance was offered.
“I asked where the gloves were and I was told they were in the corridor so I went and got some gloves to help him to be cleaned up properly.
“Two members of staff came to help to change the sheet as my husband, due to broken bones in his pelvis, can’t move by himself. I cleaned him again by myself. They did not stop me, take part in cleaning or assist me.
“One of the staff did say that it’s their job to clean and I said: ‘I am helping you to make sure he is cleaned properly as it’s not done properly and he smells’ but they did not take over from me or tell me to stop.”
Mrs Anwar added that she also witnessed poor hygiene practices in the way staff dealt with her husband.
She said: “I asked them to remove their gloves, as I had passed the dirty faeces-covered tissues to the one of the staff who then began changing sheets with the same gloves on.
“Infection and germs can spread but they put tissues full of faeces open in the bin near the other patient.”
Mrs Anwar said she was so upset by the whole affair that she asked her 11-year-old granddaughter, who was visiting Mr Anwar, to leave the ward and stand outside.
Another problem Mrs Anwar experienced was the feeding of her husband. She said: “I have told the staff to prompt him to wake up to eat, as because he has vascular dementia, he sleeps most of the time during the day and stays awake at night. His days and nights are all muddled up.
“His cup of tea in a beaker is always lying there when I go as he can’t reach, or hold it properly, unless you raised the bed and helped him to hold the beaker. Yet staff failed to offer to do this for him. How can he recover if he is not even getting basic nutritional requirements on a daily basis?”
In a final plea to the hospital, Mrs Anwar said: “I am horrified at the lack of basic hygiene, I despair to think of what happens to other patients in a similar condition but have no one to speak up for them.
“I cannot sit in silence and watch my husband, a proud old man, who worked his whole life, now subjected to humiliating treatment by those who are supposed to care for him.
Deputy chief nurse Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Colin Hont, said: "I have personally spoken to Mr Anwar's family about the concerns they have raised and given them our sincere apologies.
"Patient care is our top priority. We have taken steps to address the family's areas of concern and have put in place a detailed care plan for Mr Anwar."