"Lack of appropriate care for my 94 year old father."

About: Berkley Vale Private Hospital / Rehabilitation Gosford Hospital Wyong Public Hospital

(as a relative),

My 94 year old father had a very bad headache in November last year and was taken to Wyong Hospital by ambulance. He was admitted and was then it seemed, confined to bed. Prior to this he was living independently by himself in his own home. Confining him to bed appeared to weakened his leg muscles very rapidly. In addition to this, the staff attending my father seem to decide it was easier to put him in incontinence pants rather than take him to the toilet. Our family objected strongly to this treatment and it was then, we believe, decided that he be rehabilitated and allowed to start walking with assistance so he could go to the toilet. He was also taking long walks around the ward. We then gathered it was decided by doctors attending my father, that he should be fitted with a Pacemaker. He was transferred to Gosford Private hospital for this to happen. After the surgery it seemed to me that he was basically left in bed again until my family started to get him up and walk around the wards again.

It is now early December and Medical staff involved with my father decide (and we agreed) that Dad should be transferred to Berkely Vale Rehab Hospital to get his strength back. On his second day there, he appeared to take a turn and lost consciousness for a while. He was taken for brain scans and we believe these came back essentially clear. Dad regained consciousness and seemed to regain his senses but could not get out of bed again. At about this time he came under the care of one particular doctor. I was visiting Dad every day and it appeared that suddenly he was sleeping all the time. The times that he was awake we believe his vision seemed to be suffering. Dad only had vision in one eye and was on drops to keep his other eye good. The only reason I can see why his vision would be suffering was that he may not be receiving this medication. OK... So now my father, who is a bit deaf, can now it seems only see a little bit out of one eye, is constantly being called by his first name despite not being known by that name since he was a little child, is put on a drug called Seroquel, allegedly because he is violent. I say he is not violent, he is terrified because people suddenly appear and grab his arm to move him and he can't see or hear them. We believe that it has been on his file since day one that he had only one eye and was partially deaf and also that he was known by his other Christian name not the first one. On his file all that time and yet, it would appear that every time he goes to a new hospital, when we mention these details to staff attending my father it seems to come as a complete surprise to them, as was the reason he was admitted to hospital in the first place. Nobody appears to read records!

Now, we believe, he is constantly being sedated with Seroquel and Berkely Vale seemingly decide that he should move to high care facilities so they arrange a transfer to Gosford District Hospital. It is now mid December and there it appears there is no bed available in the Geriatric section so he is being transferred to the Respiratory Care unit until a bed is available. My family and I get into the ear of the Doctor in charge of the unit here and ask that he be taken off all sedative medication. The doctor agrees and my father begins, it appears, to regain his alertness and humor. After a few days he is transferred to Geriatrics and the doctor who treated my father earlier gets involved again and it seems he is put back onto Seroquel. I only needed to do a small amount of research into this drug to read it should not be given to elderly people and especially those with Dementia. It would appear to have many side effects, some of which my father seemed to be suffering, and worst of all the research I saw reported it was proven to increase mortality by 1. 6 - 1. 7 times.

When I raised these concerns with staff attending my father (I was never able to talk to the doctor directly) I felt I was dismissed as uninformed. I raised them with one particular nurse, who seemed to share my concerns after viewing the research. When the nurse raised this with the doctor's staff, the nurse came back, apparently, very sheepishly and apologetically saying there was nothing the nurse could do. I believe the nurse’s career was threatened. My father was in Gosford getting, I believe, progressively worse and staff attending my father at Gosford were, we felt, putting pressure on us as a family to get him in to an aged care facility. On around the 10th of February we got him into Bethsham at Wyee. A week after he was dead.

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