Patient Stories

By listening to our patients' stories, we can understand more about what really matters and, where needed, improve the quality of our services.

This is why we have introduced patient and carer stories to all our Trust Board meetings, and at a variety of Trust meetings and training. These stories seek to:

  • Provide a focus on patient and carer experience prior to decision making
  • Improve knowledge relating to patient and carer experience
  • Gain assurance that the Trust is learning from patient stories in order to benefit the wider patient audience.


September 2018 - Crisis Team East

X is a 23 year old young man who three years ago was studying mental health nursing at Bangor University. He was diagnosed six months after beginning University with bipolar disorder. For two years he was unstable with frequent medication changes and eventually had to move back home to Sturminster to live with his Mother. He was taking mood stabilisers and an antipsychotic when he returned. In line with guidelines for bipolar disorder the CMHT team stopped prescribing his antipsychotic as they felt he no longer needed it, and the mood stabliliser on its own would be enough to keep him stable.

On Thursday 25 January, after withdrawal of the antipsychotic X began to feel unwell quite quickly. The patient’s Mother quickly contacted the CMHT team on Friday 26 January. However he rapidly became more unwell over the weekend.

On Monday 29 January the CMHT arranged for an assessment and a psychiatrist assessed that X was psychotic. The psychiatrist said she would speak to the bed manager and send the Crisis Team. X agreed to go to St. Ann’s as a voluntary inpatient. The Crisis Team attended at 5pm on Monday 29 January and said that if he had not agreed to go in on a voluntary basis they would have sectioned him as he was very unwell by this stage. However X began to feel that the team were very unhelpful as they told him “if you don’t take your medication you will be taken away and injected”.

Later that evening they were advised by the Crisis Team that there were no beds available at St. Ann’s Hospital and that someone would come out again tomorrow. Due to X’s psychosis he began to think that he would be kidnapped and injected. His Mother and his girlfriend were trying to keep him calm. X’s Mother pointed out that her son is a tall, well-built, fit young man who could easily have physically moved her and his girlfriend out of the way if he wanted to get out of the house.

The following day, Tuesday 30 January, the Crisis Team arrived in the afternoon. By now X was under the impression he was on a secret mission and had to get to Wolverhampton. “Nick from the Crisis Team who attended was great with X, he really managed to calm him down” said X’s Mother. Nick said that X needed to be in hospital and he would ring later. At 6pm they were advised that there were no beds. However, in a bid to find a way to get X admitted, the team suggested that they section him, and the assessment wouldn't take place until the following day, despite the fact that X was still willing to be voluntarily admitted to St. Ann’s.

X’s Mother and girlfriend had an even more difficult night as he wanted to leave the house as he believed there were people in the woods and he began barricading the house. X’s Mother did not sleep at all that night.

In sheer frustration X’s Mother drove to Wimborne CMHT and door-stepped the psychiatrist. She was extremely shocked that X was not an inpatient. In relief that she had found someone who realised the seriousness of the situation X’s Mother burst into tears and then explained that X was going to be sectioned as a means to get a bed. The psychiatrist from Wimborne CMHT wrote a letter strongly disagreeing with the section. X and his Mother were very happy with the treatment and support received from Wimborne CMHT. The team performed as was expected and they have no concerns about their actions.

X’s Mother then rang the Crisis Team to ensure that it was on record that she did not agree with the section. She was told the section was going to happen anyway and the team would be round at some point. Another phone call was received later on that day explaining that the psychiatrist from the Crisis Team was going to carry out an assessment. After assessment, the psychiatrist agreed that a section was not necessary but X did need a bed at St. Ann’s.

That evening a bed was found on AAU – Seaview in St. Ann’s. The following day X’s Mother received a phone call from a bed manager who explained that they had not been made aware of the case and apologised for what had happened. X’s Mother explained that this phone call from the bed manager is the only reason she had not made a formal complaint.

In total X waited 4 days for a bed whilst suffering a psychotic episode. In addition, X’s Mother is concerned what could have happened if X had been alone and not had her there to fight his corner. He was willing to go to hospital but would have been sectioned against his wishes.

X and his Mother would like the following points to be noted and/or actioned by the Board:

  • X and his Mother feel that everything seemed to go wrong when the Crisis Team came into the picture and noticed that:
    • They appeared to put more obstacles in the way of the required admission.
    • It appeared there was reticence to attend and assess the patient.
    • There were different staff at each Crisis Team visit which added to X’s paranoia.
    • The Crisis Team appeared to have no compassion.
  • Why when there appeared to be no beds at St. Ann’s was no further action taken to find X a bed?
  • A significant risk had been taken leaving X with his Mum alone over the weekend.
  • X is now very angry that his Mum and girlfriend were left to deal with him. His girlfriend had never seen him in this state before which was a shock for her.
  • Finally, why was the word of X’s psychiatrist not good enough to be sent directly to St. Ann’s for a bed?

Team Feedback

The Community Mental Health Services Manager, Crisis Team and Bed Manager have reviewed the story of this gentleman and his mother, and are really grateful they spent the time providing their feedback. All services involved absolutely agree that to wait four days for an inpatient bed whilst experiencing a psychotic episode is a highly distressing situation to be in for the person and their family.

The Community Mental Health Services Manager and Inpatient Services Manager contacted Mr X and arranged to meet with him and his mother to discuss what happened.

From this feedback the team are able to improve the experience of people needing to access crisis care and to help avoid the situation that Mr X and his mother found themselves in earlier this year.

The actions that were taken from the feedback and meeting are as follows:

  1. We are currently planning the detailed implementation of the Acute Care Pathway Review, which was a public review of mental health services led by Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group. The review will see some significant changes to the current structure of the Crisis and Home Treatment Team. The current East and West teams will be devolved into locality teams that ‘wrap around’ local community mental health teams (CMHT’s). We feel this will positively impact joint working between the Crisis Team and CMHT’s, as decisions about who needs to access crisis support and inpatient care will be made jointly by the CMHT and local arm of the crisis team. The crisis workers will be able to be co-located in many cases with local CMHT’s and attend their team meetings to discuss people jointly. This will improve joint working and enable CMHT’s to be more involved in gatekeeping decisions. In addition, as staff will be allocated to a locality, the Crisis staff will get to know local people using services better and there will be more consistency in the Crisis staff seeing a person at home. From our discussions it sounds like this change would have been of real benefit to the situation you experienced. The intention is for this change to be effected from April 2019.
  2. An improved technology solution to the bed management system. Currently, we use some manual methods in bed management which leads to the risk of human error. We are implementing an electronic system which will ensure the Crisis Team and bed managers have up to the minute, consistent information about bed states and potential admissions, so as to manage this as smoothly as possible.
  3. We are undertaking a staff development programme with the Crisis Team over the next year with our Organisational Development Team. The purpose of this is to look at how to support the team with upcoming changes, and how to manage working in an acute setting and the impact this can have on staff behaviours and therefore patient care. The aim is for this to be a restorative process that supports staff and improves care as a result.

We have undertaken a reflective feedback session during a Crisis Team meeting about your experience, which we do for all feedback received. Some particular staff were referenced in the concerns and we have therefore also addressed in one to one supervision the feedback about tone and style, both positive and negative, and the impact this had on the experience.

July 2018 - Diabetes Education Service

DS is an 38 year old man, who lives in Bournemouth. In 2015 DS had an operation on his Achilles tendon. Unfortunately this was not successful and he was left in a cast and then a boot. He had a second operation, where bone was removed from his hip and used to help the bone to form in his foot. His foot was also pinned. The wounds healed but unfortunately there were further complications which meant a third operation. Prior to his operations DS played football and was not overweight.

After his operations DS weighed 122kgs, over 19 stones. Unfortunately due to his long period of illness his position at work became under threat as he was not able to carry out his role. Luckily he was offered voluntary redundancy from his well-paid job in retail. DS visited the doctor for thrush and had a diabetes test. His BMI was 34.96 and he had a very high HBA1c level. The doctor prescribed three separate medications and statins. He was also referred to the Diabetes Education Programme.

He was also seeing the physiotherapists at Royal Bournemouth Hospital for his foot and began to visit their gym regularly. He said their help and support was magnificent. He explained that going to the gym for physio really was a springboard for him. He explained that he had never been in a gym before. He explained that the physiotherapists at Royal Bournemouth now refer to him as their pinup!

DS visited the Diabetes Education Programme and undertook the 3 sessions. He found the information useful despite having a fairly good knowledge of the disease because his mother is diabetic. He says that he realised he was going to have to make a significant change in his lifestyle. He knew his mother and her friends did not seem to try and manage the disease as well as he thought they could. He decided he would be different and decided to really engage with the advice he was receiving.

One of his motivations to change was to be there for his children’s children. So he began an exercise and healthy eating programme. With his food, he used the information he had learnt from his courses at the Diabetes Education Programme and made better choices. He then reduced the amount of food he was eating by only using tea plates. In regards to his exercise he initially tried to find something he really enjoyed and began with table tennis, playing in Boscombe Gardens. He then had to walk back up the hill to get home. He explained that without his experience under the care of the physiotherapists at Royal Bournemouth, he really would never have considered going to Littledown to use the gym. He feels that safe introduction to a gym environment took away the anxiety and fear of walking in to a public gym.

He has now lost 44 kgs (nearly 7 stone) and is now pre-diabetic. He takes no medication for his diabetes which is now completely controlled through his lifestyle. He looks back at his diet when he was going through the issues with his foot and admits his diet was bad, he ate comfort food and ice cream and was constantly thirsty. He now enjoys healthy food but still enjoys a Chinese meal once a week. To control his alcohol calories, when meeting up with his male friends he now arrives a couple of hours after everyone else and leaves a little early. This way he does not get caught in the cycle of buying rounds and feeling he cannot leave.

DS says he feels younger. He incorporates walking into his day whenever possible and goes to the gym almost daily. He now helps other friends who are diagnosed with diabetes and a friend recently has lost 6 stone.

He was very happy with the information on the courses from the Diabetes Education Programme but is concerned that some attendees really did not grasp how serious diabetes could be. He felt some were of the opinion that the tablets would do it all and they did not need to change. He wonders if a little more information with a shock factor i.e. how many diabetics lose a limb or their eyesight, could help people who do not have a strong will. He now does voluntary work for Victim Support and is currently looking for a new role, perhaps within the NHS.

Team Feedback

We are delighted that DS was able to use the information provided on the Diabetes Education Programme to make lifestyle changes that resulted in him controlling his diabetes with lifestyle alone. The Diabetes Education Programme aims to empower and motivate people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes

Individuals approach a diagnosis of diabetes in different ways. Whilst people like DS use the diagnosis as a motivator for change, for others it takes a while for the seriousness of the condition to register. The programme is structured to include information about diabetes complications, what they are and actions to reduce the likelihood of complications.

People attending the programme don’t remain under the care of the service but rather go on to be looked after by GP surgeries. Whilst the programme educators have long term outcome data and patient feedback to evaluate the programme, it is good to hear about the impact on an individual.

May 2018 - Health Visitors

I am Mrs X, a new mother of a 5 month old baby. I’m a Speech and Language Therapist, specialising in feeding, and this role encompasses regularly working with Health Visitors (HV). I’ve experienced the Health Visiting service in a new light, after the birth of my child.

When the HV completed her initial home visit, she was more sympathetic and supportive; they were present for a longer period of time and saw how upset and distressed my child was, following his feeds. The HV was the first person to say I wasn’t losing the plot and advised me to take him to the GP. I went to the GP, and the outcome was that he had a cow’s milk intolerance. From this, it was recommended to place him onto a special formula and I immediately noticed a vast improvement after feeding, and in general.

Prior to this, we had previously attended Poole General Hospital (PGH), due to his poor weight gain, and a heart murmur was identified. A scan was arranged and this will be reviewed at 1 years of age. At this time, there was a very strong focus upon his weight. However, following this I still remained concerned regarding his feeding and presentation.

In addition, she took time with my husband ensuring that he was involved and understood what was happening. I really appreciated her approach, as it kept him part of the journey with our son. I also found it very helpful that the Health Visiting service provide set times and are always on time, which other services don’t always offer. As my baby was born in November, knowing when services are coming made it easier for us to go out and do things before it got dark and cold.

She had completed additional visits whilst his weight was being monitored and we were trialling the new formula. When she did this, she provided us with a phone number to contact her, and we now use drop-in clinics monthly to have him weighed and to seek further advice; I make sure that I attend these, as they are very useful. Others may be unable to attend these if they do not access to a transport.

Even though I have extensive knowledge of child development and the service in general, I would have liked to have a longer period of support from the HV to just to check everything is okay; maybe even a telephone call, just asking the question ‘how’s everything going?’ because I would always have had something to ask!

Overall, the service we have received, from all the services, has been fabulous and all staff are very supportive and caring; every person we’ve seen has been great and knowledgeable – from PGH, to the GP who we have always been able to see on the same day.

The main point about my experience with the HV is that she listened to my concerns and did not dismiss these, which in turn had a huge impact on my son's wellbeing. I felt more listened to with her, than I did with other services.

Team Feedback

The Health Visiting Service was delighted to receive this positive response regarding the support a family received from one of our teams in Poole.

This response has been shared at a recent Poole HV Locality Meeting to support good practice and learning and will also be shared at the forthcoming Pan Dorset HV Leads Meeting for wider dissemination.

The comments regarding access to Well Baby Clinics have been noted and will be fed into our current review on this aspect of service provision by the Health Visitor Advisory Forum. It is acknowledged that the mother would have valued active input or telephone support from the service for a longer period, whilst it is noted that she had contact details for her Health Visitor. Therefore, it is important that practitioners continue to work to empower families to take a proactive approach - encouraging parents to contact the service to discuss any concerns or queries they may have, rather than feeling they have to wait for the service to contact them. Our aim is to provide a personalised service that can respond to identified needs and supplementary advice or additional visits can always be arranged as required.

January 2018 - A Carer's Perspective

I was the main carer for my dad who sadly passed away in June 2017, following a 10 year struggle with Alzheimer’s – he was also diagnosed on the autistic spectrum at 80. My dad lived in Poole with me and my family in a self-contained annex for 17 years, before moving to a nursing home at Christmas 2016. Until the last couple of years I had not considered myself as a “carer”, I was just a daughter, doing what anyone would and should. Coming to this realisation was a turning point to appreciate how much caring for dad impacted on my life, and how the support of other carers was so invaluable, practically and emotionally.

Caring for someone with dementia entails a lot of ‘firsts’ – the first time you realise they are never going to get better. The first time he went out and forgot where he was. The first time he no longer knew how to make a cup of tea, and the worst ‘first’ of all – the first time he didn’t know who I was.

All was well with dad living in his annex, pottering around with support from me and my husband – we both work full time, and took it in turns to help dad get up each day. Suddenly he took a down turn and we realised we needed more help. This was especially difficult for dad, being from a Dorset gypsy background there is a cultural fear of ‘authority’. I gently persuaded him it was for the best and so a social worker arrived…sadly he didn’t gel with us and offered very little support. I felt the assessment was a form filling exercise - I hadn’t slept properly for 18 months due to dad calling out every night, so being offered a trip to the cinema was not what I needed. We were offered a week respite, but with no notice and the home being well below standard I wasn’t letting dad go there. I felt awkward, we don’t like to ‘make a fuss’, but I asked for a different social worker, who was much better for us.

She organised care workers to help dad get up and eat etc. It was difficult as they never arrived at the same time and with staff were continually changing there was no consistency.

Eventually this situation began to have an impact on my working life. It was agreed I could compress my hours to four days, which helped me balance work and dad.

Christmas 2016 dad fell over, he could barely stand unaided - he was taken to A&E but sent home as no broken ones. He fell again the next day, I tried to lift him and in the confusion he punched me … hard. He was taken back to A&E while an emergency care home was sought. Against the wishes of his GP and Social Worker he was sent home again, this time he couldn’t stand at all so we stayed up all night with him to keep him safe. I felt we had been treated very poorly, with no understanding or compassion shown to me or my dad.

A care home in Hampshire was found (nothing in Dorset available) - I asked for a nursing home but my views were not listened to. After two weeks dad was asked to leave as he ‘needed nursing home care’. I was offered a place the other side of Weymouth but turned it down, as dad needed to see us and would decline if not.

A specialist dementia nursing home in Bournemouth was found. Dad was sadly mistreated there and I lodged my concerns to social care and the CQC, who inspected and found them ‘Inadequate’ in all areas. It was very distressing as staff at the home didn’t speak or listen to me or dad and spoke to him in a gruff way. He stopped eating and drinking as they were not making any effort to support him. Dad lost 3 stones in 9 weeks and was covered in bruises.

A lovely district nurse assessed dad for Continuing Healthcare – she even came to my home to explain why and how it worked, she listened to me and I felt at last someone was showing us care and compassion.

I managed to get dad moved to a new and vastly better nursing home, where he started to eat and drink again. Sadly after only a short while he died. They were wonderfully supportive of us all and dad had a ‘good death’.

Looking back it’s like a nightmare. I don’t know how I worked and cared for dad while hardly sleeping. I would have gladly cared for dad full time but finances prevented me and I remain very sad about that, but very appreciative of my employer for all their support and understanding of my situation.

In summary, I feel that my story demonstrates:

  • A supportive employer has a huge impact on the ability of the carer to cope.
  • The importance of recognising yourself as a carer.
  • The need for staff in social and healthcare to remember that carers when initially beginning to use services do not know how the system works.
  • Recognise that carers when accessing services are not trying to walk away from their responsibilities.
  • If an NHS staff member found it so difficult to navigate and cope with the system how are other members of the public managing.
  • The carer knows their cared for person really well – listening to them will improve the quality of care you can provide.

Team Feedback

This story covers a wide range of issues and is focused on the patient and carer’s journey rather than a specific service. In this case, it is felt that feedback from the Dorset HealthCare service included in the story would not add any value.

November 2017 - Audiology

Mr X is a 50 year old man who got out of bed on the morning of his birthday in November and promptly fell down. He was suffering with dizziness and he couldn’t stand as he felt the room was spinning. He was diagnosed with benign positional vertigo.

Mr X was treated by his GP using the Epley manoeuvre which is the sequential movement of the head in positions designed to get any floating debris to the bottom of the ear canal. It was explained to him by the registrar that this treatment worked in 80% of cases.

Unfortunately this did not resolve his condition and he was referred to hospital where the manoeuvre was carried out by a further two medical staff. Mr X noted that each time the manoeuvre was undertaken it was performed differently, and again did not resolve his benign positional vertigo.

Mr X was finally referred to Audiology when the manoeuvres previously undertaken failed to cure his benign positional vertigo.

Mr X said "I was seen by the Audiology Service on the 14 June. After waiting a few minutes I was called in by the audiologist, who asked me to lie down while she watched my eyes.” The audiologist explained to Mr X that by watching his eyes as he goes to lie down she would be able to tell which ear is causing the problem. As it turned out it was Mr X’s right ear.

“The audiologist told me that as people get older calcium deposits form in the liquid in the ear and they confuse the brain as they continue moving in the fluid in your ear when you are standing still. She wanted to perform the Epley Manoeuvre, the aim being to get the calcium deposits at the bottom of the ear canal where they will settle. I told her that it hadn’t worked before and it made my dizziness worse so I didn’t want it done again. She carefully explained and demonstrated what she would do so that I knew what to expect”. Mr X explained that the audiologist seemed to understand how he felt which was reassuring.

Mr X agreed to have the manoeuvre performed. “When I got up to my surprise I didn’t feel dizzy, I had to eat humble pie because I told her it wouldn’t work. The audiologist asked me to wait in the waiting room for 30 minutes and she would call me back in and repeat the manoeuvre again if necessary. The dizziness had gone!”

The audiologist advised me that she would call me at home a week later to make sure that the dizziness had not returned.

She called me a week later and then again a further week later. She told me “that if I had the symptoms again to call the Audiology Department and she will see me”.

Team Feedback

Mr x was suffering with dizziness and he experienced episodes on a daily basis.

He was diagnosed with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), which is a common balance disorder due to calcium carbonate crystals (‘otoconia’) falling out of the correct part of the inner ear (‘utricle’) into the wrong part (‘semi-circular canal).

He was treated by his GP using the Epley manoeuvre which consists of the sequential movement of the head in positions designed to move any floating otoconia back into the utricle.

As people get older, otoconia can sometimes fall into the liquid within the inner ear and they confuse the brain as they continue moving in the fluid in your ear when you are still. The Audiologist who treated him explained to him that this treatment worked in 80% of cases. It was unfortunate that it did not work on previous occasions.

The Audiologist performed the Epley Manoeuvre, the aim being to move the otoconia out of the wrong part of the inner ear, back to where they belong. The Audiologist treating this patient was able to gain his trust to perform this manoeuvre which resulted in a positive result for the patient.

The leaflet Mr x refers to has been reviewed and is currently with communications being made ready for printing.

September 2017 - Eating Disorders

Miss X is a 21 year old young woman who lives in Poole.

Miss X explained that she began to suffer with issues with her eating in November 2015. She had been attending her GP from December 2015 as she knew she had a problem with her eating but was only referred to the Eating Disorder Service in June 2016 after making an attempt on her own life. Due to her illness Miss X had to leave her job at a gym as this was adding to her body image issues. Following a year of treatment she was discharged from the service on 7 July 2017.

Miss X stated “My problems with eating started in November 2015 when I decided to enter a body building competition, which meant that I started to eat less and exercise more. I didn’t get placed in the competition and I felt that I had done all that work for nothing”.

She explained “After the competition I felt that I was now free to eat anything I wanted, that there were no boundaries. I would starve all day. Then late at night I would drive to the supermarket to get some food; eat it in the car and then go in and get some more food. I would do this up to five times and would feel so full I couldn’t move. I wouldn’t do it for a few days and then I would repeat the process again.

I knew I needed help so I went to the GP in mid-December he didn’t take it seriously and I was told to try and eat regular meals. If I had been referred at this point things would not have got so bad. I had put on weight and would hide it by wearing a large coat and wrap it around myself; I wouldn’t make eye contact with anyone and I felt so guilty.

At this time (February 2016) I started to look at website chat rooms like Instagram and chat to girls with the same problem. I learnt a lot of bad things from these sites which led to bulimia and I started experimenting with laxatives.

I started to feel disappointed with myself, I began to feel depressed, and I didn’t want to live. I took an overdose in March 2016. I went to see another GP in May and I was finally referred to the Eating Disorder Service, without that GP and the support I received from the Eating Disorder Service I don’t think I would be here now.

When I had my assessment they asked me what goals I would like to achieve. I told them I wanted to wear leggings or jeans and tops with no sleeves. At this point I was referred to the dietitian. The dietitian undertook some tests to see what proportion of my body was muscle and fat. It was decided that I needed to eat 2000 calories a day and a diet plan was put together for me. By following this I lost 10 kilos. I no longer feel guilty about what I eat as I eat healthily so I don’t watch what I eat”.

The service did a lot of work around body image with Miss X. Her support worker asked her to draw the body shape that she thought she was and then she had her lay down on the paper on the floor and drew around her real body shape. These drawings were compared. Miss X explained that she also learnt that lighting has an effect on what you see in the mirror and mirrors can distort your image”.

Miss X has discovered that she enjoys painting and Calligraphy and she has her own Facebook page. It is called @creatinglillie and it's on Instagram. She shows the reality that social media doesn't always show, and talks about some of the challenges she faced and how she overcame them mainly surrounding food and body image. She wants to try and give women a better example on social media that isn't perfectionism but more about loving you for you no matter what size you are.

“I have now got a job as a shift manager at Starbucks and I am going on a self-love retreat to Bali for two weeks. I am also studying counselling as I would like to help other people”.

Miss X stated “The service really helped me but because my GP did not seem to understand my illness it took a long time to be referred to the Eating Disorder Service. I would have liked to be able to talk to someone who understood my illness while I was waiting to be seen”.

Figure 1: A picture created by Miss S.

Team Feedback

The Eating Disorder Service is delighted with this feedback. Areas of activity relevant to the issue of delayed referral raised in this patient’s story are:

  1. The service offers self-referral so patients do not have to wait for GPs to refer them to our service.
  2. The Eating Disorder Service has undergone investment in the 2015/16 to develop a 4 week from referral to treatment for routine referrals to the service and towards which it is working to achieve a 95% compliance rate by 2020.
  3. The education and training offered by the service to local GP education events about eating disorders and the local service available from the Trust to improve our colleagues in primary care awareness of Eating Disorders and the service.

July 2017 - Ashmore and Shaston Wards

Mr C is the husband of Mrs C a 76 year old woman from London. Mrs C was an inpatient in Ashmore and Shaston Ward, Westminster Memorial Hospital, between 29 March 2017 and 25 May 2017.

Mr. C explained how they both came to be in Dorset. Mrs C had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and because her health was going to decline further Mr. C sold their flat in London and purchased a smaller place. This new ground floor flat was to be altered to ensure that their new home was suitable for Mrs C. This would involve significant building work.

Whilst the building work was being undertaken they moved down to Dorset for the beautiful countryside and to escape the disruption. Mr. and Mrs. C had loved France during their marriage and he planned a “last adventure” with his wife so that she could enjoy a last holiday whilst her health allowed. Unfortunately Mrs. C became very unwell and she was taken by ambulance to Yeovil hospital. After assessment and treatment she was eventually moved to Westminster hospital for rehabilitation.

“This place is a blessing” said Mr. C. “The occupational therapists got my wife moving and all the staff are extremely patient and helpful. Everyone was so encouraging to us both.” Mr. C was given a Carer’s Passport and said the ability to come and go whenever he wanted meant he was really involved in his wife’s care.

Mr. C said that every element of the care his wife received was explained to him and he felt fully aware of what was happening and why. He sat in on meetings to discuss her care and it was tough to hear the honest truth from consultants who explained her prognosis. He said “it hurt but it had to be done” and he was grateful that he was fully involved. Her medication was reduced from ten tablets a day to 5 to help her mobility issues. He was concerned about her Parkinson’s being managed with reduced medication but felt supported by the team and happily her mobility increased and she did not appear to have suffered as she remained bright and cognitive.

Mr. C explained that the preparations for discharge started fairly early with discussions with him and the rest of the family. We went through a “pros and cons” written exercise with the family and the biggest benefit for moving back to London was his wife’s closest friends could see her more often and her family could be involved. He said he was personally conflicted as he would have preferred to stay in Dorset as the county had really grown on him. However he recognised he had to put his own wishes lower down on his priorities and he realised that he would need additional help to care for his wife. So the decision was made that on discharge they would be returning to London.

Unfortunately there were issues with the housing situation in London as the building work had not been passed by the local council which meant a delay in discharge. The discharge coordinator explained that they would not be “thrown out” as his wife was physically well enough for discharge. He said that he felt incredibly guilty that they were using a bed but the team reassured him that this was not his concern and that he and his wife would go to London as soon as everything was organised.

The ward manager advised that Mr. C was so supportive of his wife and he would dance backwards whilst supporting her to get her moving. The ward staff found this charming and the other patients laughed and enjoyed watching them dancing together.

Mr. C said he was now looking forward to returning to London as he loves the museums and live music. He said that one suggestion he would make, would be to suggest that the Trust looks into the Parkinson’s Classes that the English National Ballet run. His wife had always loved the ballet and they attended for five years prior to their move to Dorset. The classes include dancing to the music from the ballet that the company are performing for that season. He also said the social interaction was a key benefit from the classes, particularly for those patients who live alone.

In addition he said that patients suffering with Parkinson’s need stimulus and the staff work really hard to provide that. He felt that a Sunday Lunch where the patients sat around a table, as they would do at home, would be a great idea and something to look forward to.

Mr. C said the flexibility of the Carers Passport was really great. He knew when the OT would be seeing his wife so he could be there for the “dance class”. Mr. C said “I can’t say thank you enough. The care my wife has received has been second to none. The lovely staff care so much and their interest and involvement in my welfare has been very touching.”

Team Feedback

It was lovely that this positive patient experience was captured so well by the Patient Experience Team, who met with Mr C.

The problems with housing issues that were highlighted were dealt with in a timely manner through the coordination of our Discharge Facilitator and the team as a whole. We always strive to ensure the involvement of all those concerned; with the patient remaining always as our main focus.

The frequent ‘dancing’ between Mr & Mrs C was both enjoyable to watch and certainly beneficial to Mrs C ‘s mobility. It has long been recognised that patients with Parkinson’s Disease can benefit from music therapy, and I plan to discuss this further with our Parkinson’s Disease Nurse Specialist.

And finally, I totally agree that our patients benefit from our activities which on occasion includes ‘lunch club’ in which patients sit together; I have encouraged our staff to increase the frequency of this activity wherever possible.

June 2017 - Tarrant Ward

Mrs R is a 71 year old woman who lives in Blandford Mrs R was found on the floor of her flat by a senior care assistant on 18 April 2017 and taken to accident and emergency at Dorchester County Hospital. She was found to be suffering from a urinary tract infection and to have a very low insulin level. Treatment commenced and she was admitted to Tarrant Ward 24 hours later to continue her recovery.

Mrs R explained “I don’t remember being in Dorchester Hospital, my first memory is arriving at Tarrant Ward”. Mrs R explained “I had been taking my insulin but I didn’t seem to have any appetite, which I feel was how I started to become ill. I must have been hallucinating as well as I thought I was going to an orthopaedic appointment, in a taxi and then later thought I was on trial for my life!”

Eventually, I became aware of where I was and the staff really helped me. “The food was wonderful and the nurses were so special they must have had intensive training. The nurses kept on top of my drugs, I used to take my insulin 4 times a day and they altered it to two times a day, I wasn’t sure, but it did the trick, I am fine now on less insulin”.

Mrs R said “I enjoyed being on the ward and the therapy that I received. The nursing staff were always available if I needed them but they allowed me to be as independent as I wanted to be. I took part in quizzes on the ward which I really enjoyed.” Mrs. R said she had her haircut whilst an inpatient which made her feel good. She really appreciated having help to have a shower and wash her hair as it gets dirty quickly when you are unwell.

On one occasion the ward organised a visit from ‘Lofty’ a therapy horse. She said “I had been around horses when I was a child and it brought back lovely memories. I thought it was funny that the horse had shoes on and was amazed it did not slip!”

“While I was in hospital I set up a memory box with the Occupational Therapist which was lovely. I enjoyed being taken out on to the patio, it felt like a secret place to enjoy the fresh air, it made my day as I was in hospital for a month”. Mrs. R recalled. Mrs R said “The patient next to me kept trying to get out of bed, so I kept ringing the bell so staff could stop her from getting out of the bed. I felt guilty as the staff were so busy but realised I was helping the staff and helping the patient from falling again. I enjoyed helping the patients around me”.

Mrs R explained that she watched over another patient next to her who had dementia. Because of her dementia she used to swear and I would suggest she used a politician’s name when she wanted to swear “I knew it was the dementia and not her, she was a lovely lady and I did her exercises with her to help”. The staff referred to us as ‘The Naughty Girls Club’, we had a good laugh”.

Mrs R summarised her experience “Woe betide anyone that closes Blandford Hospital as it was wonderful. It’s the very best I’ve been in, and I have been in a few. The nurses put up with me and I know I can be difficult at times, particularly when I was so unwell”.

Mrs R was taken to her home for a pre-discharge visit by a member of the Integrated Rehabilitation Team (ICRT) to assess whether her home had equipment in place to ensure her return home would be to a safe environment. Mrs R was discharged from Tarrant Ward on the 16 May 2017.

Tarrant Ward Feedback

This story will be shared with the team, it is always lovely to hear how the great care we deliver has made a difference to our patients and supported their recovery. The visit from Lofty the therapy horse was greatly appreciated by both patients and staff and we look forward to his next visit in December.

This patient story includes:

• The disorientation felt by a patient in a semi-conscious state with an infection.

• The importance of therapy in a patients recovery.

• The interpersonal relationships on the ward can help patients feel relaxed and happy.

• A positive response to her admission and her appreciation of the ward staff in her recovery.

What has the Trust learnt?

That occupational therapy plays an important role in the patients’ recovery. Personal care and

normal activities such as hairdressing and being taken outside improved her wellbeing.

The reason for the hospital stay was her physical health but her wellbeing was equally


Actions taken:

Mrs R did not have any suggestions for improvement.

May 2017 - St Ann’s Hospital and the Early Intervention Service

Monica (not her real name) is a 29 year old woman who was diagnosed with psychosis and bipolar disorder in January 2016. Monica said there is a family history of mental illness, her mother suffers with alcohol misuse, her father with depression, her maternal grandfather with depression and alcohol misuse and her maternal aunt with bipolar disorder, but this was the first time that Monica herself had experienced this.

Before her illness Monica was a successful accounts manager who travelled the country and lived in a shared house. She now feels she has nothing following her illness and the ten months since her diagnosis and the time she spent in hospital.

Monica was taking antidepressant medication prescribed by her GP. But she knew that she was not feeling well. Having previously taken illegal drugs she explained she felt ‘high’. She contacted her GP who suggested that she increase her dosage of her antidepressants, however Monica stopped taking them instead. It is not known how long after stopping her medication, but this led to her feeling even more unwell and feeling very ‘high, so she called an ambulance, as she knew that she needed help.

Monica was admitted to Seaview Ward St Ann’s Hospital, following admission from Poole Hospital in January 2016, and was then transferred to Chine Ward two days later.

Monica felt that Chine ward did not manage her illness well as she felt that she was not getting better.

Monica felt that she was being given the wrong medication to help her and that they could not get her medication right. She did not sleep for many nights as she did not feel safe, this was mainly due to the way her illness made her feel, and also other patients, who she found to be noisy, aggressive and intimidating. The lack of sleep led Monica to become aggressive and violent to both staff and patients. She needed to be restrained and have rapid tranquilization on many occasions and Monica said that as a previous rape victim earlier in her life, being held down made her feel even worse. This was known to staff at the time of her admission.

Monica continued to be violent, and at the time of her hospital admission there was no provision for female intensive therapy beds at St Ann’s Hospital, so Monica was transferred to a hospital in London for further treatment. Monica stated that the move to London made her feel worse and that her medication continued to not work effectively, she thought that she was in a hotel but was being restrained by someone. She tried to escape frequently. She felt like she was in prison and was only allowed half an hour’s break each day, Monica also felt the hospital was dirty.

After a month in London Monica was discharged back to her parents’ home in New Milton. Unfortunately, Monica quickly became unwell again and was readmitted to St Ann’s Hospital in May 2016. Monica continued to be violent and had to be restrained on numerous occasions. Her care team at St Ann’s suggested that she have Electroconvulsive Therapy to try and help improve her behaviour/violent outbursts and to manage her illness. However, her parents felt that this was an archaic treatment and refused for her to have this. Monica was therefore transferred to a different London hospital in July 2016 for further treatment, as there was still no provision of female PICU beds in Dorset at that time.

Monica felt she was bullied and racially abused by other patients during her stay in the London Hospital, as she was one of the few white patients there. They took some time to get her medication under control, and during this time Monica suffered many side effects from the medication she was taking, and she also felt that this hospital was dirty as well. She felt isolated, as her friends could not visit and her family were not nearby for support.

After a month in London Monica was transferred back to St Ann’s Hospital, again initially to Seaview Ward, but she was then transferred to Chine Ward, to stabilise her medication and to support her discharge into the community Monica was discharged in October 2016 to the Early Intervention Service (EIS) .

Monica feels that this admission was much better than her previous one, as the staff in the main were caring. Monica felt she was able to be involved in her treatment and care, was given more leave and had the support of her family and friends nearby.

Monica explained that staff on Chine ward, helped her to find a place to live and she was discharged to the YMCA in Bournemouth following completion of her inpatient stay.

Monica is now under the care of the Early Intervention Team (EIS) and says that their support is ‘phenomenal’ and that she cannot fault the care and support that she has been given by the team. Monica has a really good rapport with her support worker and is also under the care of a psychologist, which is enabling her to talk about her care at St Ann’s and her previous sexual assault.

Monica is currently working part time but is aiming to return to work full time in the near future with the support from the Early Intervention Service.

Team Feedback

From EIS team

Monica will benefit from being able to tell her story and will feel listened to. If she feels that telling her story might help to change/inform future treatment for others then this would be a positive achievement for her.

From an objective standpoint Monica was very unwell for a sustained period of time and achieving the effective combination of medication was very difficult. However reading her personal account of her experiences and the consequences of these experiences highlights how we should all work together to improve care where possible and to also build on the positives.

Working with Monica since she was discharged from hospital she has consistently moved forward in her recovery through her own determination to rebuild her life. The team are really happy that she has managed to achieve so much in a relatively short space of time and look forward to continuing to work with her.

From Chine ward

As we did not have a female PICU Monica stayed on the ward longer than we have liked as we were aware of the consequences for sending her to an out of area PICU, which meant an unfamiliar environment, away from her friends and family, staff that did not know her and she did not know them, and we had little control over their choices of treatment.

Whilst Monica was out of area we stayed in contact with the PICU, with Monica, and Monica’s family. The hospital in London appeared to have a lot of ‘blanket’ rules and patients were not allowed mobile phones so this limited Monica’s contact with her family and friends. All visits had to take place off the ward as visitors were not allowed on the ward, meaning they needed to have staff escort, which affected the length of the visit.

For the new PICU at St Ann’s Hospital we have made a lot of effort to treat patients in the least restrictive manner and have tried to avoid blanket rules - phones are not routinely removed - and if they need to be, the rational for this is clearly documented and if necessary a care plan put in place. Family can also visit on the ward, unless there are significant concerns.

We agree with Monica with regards the out of area placements, and on her first admission there we made the decision to get her back to St Ann’s as soon as possible as the environment was in our view, not conducive to her recovery.

As we did not have PICU provision locally to support Monica, her family were supported financially by the Trust with reimbursing travel cost and expenses thus ensuring that they were able to visit their daughter regularly when she was in London.

April 2017 - Support Transition and Recovery Service (START) West Dorset

Sam is a 27 year old young man who was diagnosed with Schizophrenia, diabetes and other disorders related to excessive alcohol intake. Sam has been sectioned three times under the Mental Health Act over a five year period between 2007 and 2012. He was first sectioned after a Ketamine overdose at the age of 16. Sam currently lives with his father in Lyme Regis after moving from Sherborne. Sam is a very reserved young man and his father assisted him in sharing his story.

Sam’s mother and father had been through a difficult split and his Dad felt this was the start of Sam’s problems. Initially Sam was still living with his mother when they were in Sherborne. Sam’s Dad explained that he knew he had to get more involved when Sam had been sectioned for the third time. He was scared that he could lose his son forever. He hoped to move Sam away from the influences he felt were having a negative effect on his son’s life. Eventually Sam and his Dad managed to move to Lyme Regis and they now share a flat.

Sam was originally under the Community Mental Health Team and was referred to Sarah, the Support Transition and Recovery Service (START) Worker in July 2016 for help with his recovery. After completing the “recovery star” where Sam’s areas of interest were identified, it became clear that Sam was very keen on improving his fitness. He also understood that his alcohol intake was detrimental to his diabetes and mental health. Sam had a huge barrier as he was worried about using public transport to get to Bridport to exercise.

Sam’s main identified interest was his love for animals. Sarah suggested volunteering at an animal sanctuary called “Ferne” in Chard however the location, again, was an issue, as there was no regular public transport. However Sam was happy to apply and deal with the travel issue should he be given an opportunity. Whilst waiting for an opening to arise at Ferne, Sarah encouraged Sam to take up other volunteering opportunities but he remained focussed on working with animals. There was a long period of waiting for a suitable opportunity to arise and his engagement faltered for a while. One day whilst Sarah was walking back to her car from meeting with Sam, she stopped to talk to a local trader who had a dog sitting outside her shop. They chatted about the fact that the dog enjoyed sitting outside but, when she was busy, she could not take the dog for a walk. Sarah asked whether she would consider talking to Sam about him helping her with the dog. When Sarah had spoken to Sam he visited the shop by the end of that day. Sam now walks the dog 4-5 times a week and has been referred by the local trader to other friends to walk their dogs.

On speaking with Sam he makes it clear that his is in a much better place now. In the last four years he has not been sectioned. He said there are a number of issues which have been important to gain that stability in his life.

Initially his father moving in was a key change. He began to eat regularly and had someone who he could trust. Sam said that Simon, his Care Co-ordinator visiting him at home to organise his medication has been a huge improvement. He says the walk to the GP practice was over a mile away up a steep hill and with his fitness levels was difficult. Sam attributes a significant impact to the change in his life to achieving his aim of working with animals. He says that he loves to walk the dogs, which he does individually for about an hour at a time. Also having made a commitment to walk the dogs makes him get out of the house and not sit around and drink alcohol. He has lost weight due to the walking and his mood has improved considerably. The fact that the community are supporting him has also increased his self-worth and is beginning to embed both

Sam and his Dad into the local community. Sam’s Dad has also been signposted to carer’s services by Sarah who is keen to ensure he is not feeling isolated and unsupported. Sam and his Dad both feel the journey is not yet ended and there is still a lot of work to do. However they feel positive about the changes they have made together. They continue to feel supported by Sarah and know if they do need additional help she is there.

Sam’s story includes:

• The importance of family support;

• An holistic approach to the patient;

• Thinking outside of the norm to support patients;

• Healthcare workers knowing and working with the local community to support patients;

• Understanding barriers and working to minimise those for patients

• The positive impact of having commitments to an individual

Feedback, concerns and complaints