Having lost her mother 13 years ago in the Mid Staffs disaster, Deb Hazeldine recounts the exemplary end-of-life care her father received recently at the University Hospitals of North Midlands.
The Mid Staffordshire Public Inquiry heard from 250 witnesses and over a million documents. Robert Francis QC described it as a story of the appalling unnecessary suffering of hundreds of people.
A lack of care, compassion, humanity and leadership. The most basic standards of care were not observed.
I was one of those 250 witnesses that gave evidence. Trying to give my mum, Ellen Linstead, a voice she no longer had.
Fast forward to August 2019.
An elderly gent is in a hospital setting, in a side room, in a hospital bed. Outside of the door life is busy carrying on in this hospital ward. This elderly gent is Tom Linstead. An 83-year-old who has spent the last 13 years of his life desperately missing his wife Ellen.
My family anxiously enter the hospital, worried, a little scared as memories come flooding back. A conversation in a small room, information given, scans, test results, questions answered, time given freely, wonderful communication.
A consultant and clinical staff working together to ensure everything is relayed precisely and extremely clearly. Reassuring for this family.
Tom is in the Royal Stoke University Hospital, part of the University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust, which also now runs Stafford hospital, now known as the County Hospital.
He has a Purple Bow at the end of his bed and on the front of the door to his side room.
The Purple bow scheme identifies patients coming to the end of their lives. The bow is a visible sign for all that this patient and family need ongoing support at a very emotional time.
It quietly and respectfully signals to everyone that they need to be mindful and ensures everyone is aware and understanding around the patient and their loved ones whilst they are nearby.
Patient safety is an ongoing journey and change can often feel frustratingly slow, however I feel it is disingenuous to state absolutely nothing has changed since the Francis reports, because in Staffordshire it has
A small pack is also given to the family with vital information enclosed, letting families know what extra support is available. The very visible signage can also be used in a ward setting.
Tom had a purple bow follow him to a side room after being on a ward for a short period. It was somehow extremely comforting to the family that it followed him.
Food and drinks are continually offered to the family, they are made to feel that they are also being cared for, looked after to enable them to continually be with their loved one.
An empathetic smile from passing staff, a nod from others, ongoing acknowledgement that the family are not alone.
Thirteen years ago, without even knowing I became a patient safety campaigner after losing my mum in the Mid Staffs disaster.
Thank you to all of the staff at UHNM for their wonderful support. The end-of-life, palliative care team, ward 102 and SAU. Your professionalism, your kindness will never be forgotten.
Both of my parents died in clinical settings in Staffordshire, over a decade apart. Memories of one haunt me to this day, another gives me peace
My dad received exemplary end-of-life care. Your staff also cared for me and my family. For me this meant so much because to this day I struggle to be in any clinical setting.
Thank you to the hospital chaplains, you gave so much comfort at a time when it was most needed.
Both of my parents died in clinical settings in Staffordshire, over a decade apart. Memories of one haunt me to this day, another gives me peace.
Death comes to everyone, however it’s how you die and the memories you leave with your loved ones. Thank you for ensuring my dad’s final days were peaceful and dignified.
I cannot say how much this means, to be able to retain peace during and after my dad’s death. Thank you.
So very many people have, and continue to work incredibly hard to ensure lessons have been learned from Mid Staffs. Thank you to each and every person that is ensuring myself and my family continue to have ongoing hope for the future.
Having lived through the troubled times at Mid Staffs, I have to date never entered a clinical setting that was anything like that time.
Patient safety is an ongoing journey and change can often feel frustratingly slow, however I feel it is disingenuous to state absolutely nothing has changed since the Francis reports, because in Staffordshire it has.
How terribly disheartening for all dedicated staff to not know how much this hard work is appreciated. As I have stated many times, the NHS’ best asset is its dedicated staff.
From myself, my dad and my family, thank you. It does not go unrecognised and will never be forgotten.
- End of life care
- Francis report - recommendations
- Francis report - what happened
- MID STAFFORDSHIRE NHS FOUNDATION TRUST
- Mid Staffs Inquiry
- Mid Staffs Inquiry - clinical
- Mid Staffs Inquiry - regulation
- Mid Staffs Inquiry - workforce
- Older people’s services
- Patient dignity
- Patient experience
- Patient safety
- Robert Francis QC
- UNIVERSITY HOSPITALS OF NORTH MIDLANDS NHS TRUST