Ipswich: Ipswich Hospital apologise to family for poor standard of care

IPSWICH: A hospital has apologised after an elderly woman suffering from a chest infection died of complications after falling and breaking her hip during her stay.

Ruby Andrews, 87, of Salisbury Road, Ipswich, was admitted to Ipswich Hospital in Heath Road on July 23 last year after her GP diagnosed a chest infection and pneumonia.

She was moved to Kirton ward, where her family say a “catalogue of disasters” resulted in her falling four times and sustaining the broken hip.

Mrs Andrews, a retired secretary, died at the hospital on August 3.

At an inquest into her death at Ip-City yesterday Greater Suffolk Coroner Dr Peter Dean recorded a narrative verdict, finding the grandmother died of complications following an operation to repair a fractured hip, occurring against a background of pre-existing pneumonia.

In a statement from Mrs Andrews’ family, concerns about toileting, communication surrounding the four falls and her condition, and nutritional issues were raised.

Siobhan Jordan, director of nursing and quality at Ipswich Hospital, told the inquest the health trust conducted its own investigation. She said: “I apologise that we did not care for Mrs Andrews in the way we should have.”

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She said the hospital had taken action to improve care in light of the complaints raised by Mrs Andrews’ daughter Janice Joslin and her family.

Speaking after the inquest Mrs Joslin, of Acacia Close, Ipswich, said: “As a family we feel the hospital let my mother down.

“Her care was not what she deserved and, we believed, bordered on negligent.

“I felt I was allowing her to go into hospital for 24-hour care. I was let down and she was let down.

“Basic care and dignity was not there.

“I don’t think some of the nurses saw her as a person – not all of them but that is our experience on that particular ward at that particular time.”

Mrs Joslin’s husband Jeremy added: “There was a catalogue of disasters. There are still unanswered questions– we are very disappointed.”

Ms Jordan told the inquest Mrs Andrews’ chest and urinary infections were likely to have caused “patchy confusion”, increasing the risk of her falling.

Accepting “the nurses should have been more proactive”, Ms Jordan said a new practice, Intentional Rounding, has been introduced which requires nurses to check patients every two hours.

Better communication between the doctors and nurses and families of patients was also an area the trust was addressing, said Ms Jordan.

Of the four falls Mrs Andrews suffered while in hospital, only one was reported to her family, the inquest heard.

They were told of her improvements and the positive outcomes possible, but there was a conflicting picture in her medical notes.

Ms Jordan said the medical notes revealed “somebody who was quite sick, more unwell than I believe the hospital explained to the family.”

She said it was not a case of the medical team not picking up on the significance of Mrs Andrews’ condition, rather one of poor communication.

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