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"My mother's recent stay in hospital"

About: Cairns Hospital

(as a relative),

My mum had a fall at the nursing home where she is living, and was taken to Cairns Base Hospital. My brothers were notified and they met up with Mum in emergency. The doctors asked about Mum's health and medications. My brother informed the doctors and staff she has onset Dementia, Type 2 Diabetes and the medications she is taking. Mum suffered a broken arm and nose in the fall. At the time of first x-rays it looked like the elbow had been fractured and we were advised she will need surgery to have it plated. Three days after admission my brother inquired as to the progress of the surgery. He was informed the decision had been made to plaster the arm as it was not the elbow but the arm. As Mum has dementia this decision should have been communicated with the family as she is unable to understand or make an informed decision. We were happy that she didn't need surgery but there should have been family consultation or at least the Enduring Power of Attorney informed. The second concern I have is that she is a Diabetic (having dementia she doesn't remember this) and this information was provided to doctors and staff at admission. My brother found packets of sugar with Mum's coffee cup apparently she had been given sugar. When my brother commented to the nurse that Mum was diabetic she was visibly taken back at the mistake. Aside from these fundamental errors she was looked after and treated well. The reason for this letter is please think when you treat dementia patients, they seem to cope and understand but in reality they are good at hiding their inability to comprehend. If she was asked do you want sugar of course she will say yes because she doesn't remember she is diabetic. Coloured armbands are used for allergy patients, why can't you use the same simple technology to distinguish other disorders especially where you can't ask a patient. Please try to look after your elderly patients, they are somebody's parents or loved ones.

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