End of life care at Princess Alexandra Hospital described as “perfect”
Health / Thu 22nd Mar 2018 at 11:29am
By Local Democracy Reporter
THE family of an 88-year-old dementia patient who spent some of his last days at Princess Alexandra Hospital say the quality of care he received was “perfect”.
Fred Stokes, 88, was living in a care home in North Weald when he was brought to the Harlow hospital with an infection on January 10 and subsequently transferred to a special ward for elderly care on February 7.
Fred – who had previously asked to return to his care home to be back in familiar surroundings – was stable enough to be allowed home on February 14.
He died peacefully the next day.
His nephew Stephen Donovan came to see Fred every day for four weeks with wife Frances and said: “Things like combing his hair, every little thing like that meant a lot.
“Up until his dementia, he was very smart and looked after his looks.
“But with dementia, when you get an illness that takes you down more than one step and he had two or three infections that really dragged him down.
“He went downhill very quickly in the last six months.
“I can’t fault anything. We could see a gradual decline but in the end we heard Fred saying he wanted to go home and that was the care home in North Weald.
“He came over to Gibberd Ward and it was almost another step up in the care and the way he was looked after.
“It’s a strong word but I would even go as far as to say it was perfect.”
End of life care is one of the service areas within the latest Care and Quality Commission (CQC) report that shows significant improvement at Princess Alexandra Hospital, with the service now rated as ‘Good’.
A previous inspection in July 2016 identified the need for a more collaborative approach, rating it ‘Inadequate’.
Since the 2016 inspection, many actions have been taken to improve the quality of end of life care and some of these have been highlighted within the latest CQC report.
These include the recent development of Gibberd Ward, a specialised unit for patients with dementia who are also at the end of their lives and the hospital’s team of butterfly volunteers, of which Frances is one, who are available to sit with dying patients in hospital who may have no family or friends nearby.
Frances added: “We were so impressed and grateful with the way Fred was treated on both wards.
“We visited every day, and each time Fred looked very well cared for. He was always clean, happy and pain-free and staff took the time to ensure that Fred was shaved and comfortable.
“Ward staff were always welcoming and ready to take time with us and answer our questions.
“I can’t speak highly enough of Anna and her team on Penn Ward, and Frances, Michelle and the team on Gibberd Ward.
“They were so caring and we felt reassured that Fred was in such good hands. Fred died peacefully in his sleep and you couldn’t really ask for a better death.”
I'm deeply proud of Princess Alexandra Hospital, over the course of 35 years the hospital has helped various members of my family and many many friends with exquisite care.