I've a lady who has a mood disorder who I've been seeing for a few years, now. As time's ticked by, she's also developed dementia. She recently had an acute admission, onto a medical ward that's busy, rather like this.
Staff are largely well meaning but care's not as you'd wish since the wards don't have enough staff to optimally support the patients' needs.
This was rather brought home when, last week, I was in their hospital seeing other folk but had heard my lady with dementia had been admitted. I popped on to her ward, to see how she was being cared for and to let the ward team know what support we'd be able to put in place on discharge. I saw her, she didn't look good. She was thirsty. She was very thirsty.
Her bedside looked like this. I've not moved a thing, this is exactly as I found it :
This was all well outside of her reach.
5 drinks, if you count them. There was water there from the morning. Orange juice that came with lunch. Then coffee. Then a dietary supplement. Finally, some more water from the afternoon.
5 drinks, all on the tray of a lady with dementia, all still there for hours and not drunk as drink after drink is added.
She was discharged back home that afternoon, on antibiotics for her exacerbation of COPD, where she's getting a couple hours of home care and 2 visits a day from daughters to support her. Tragically, this episodic care 4 to 6 times a day results in far better care for her than being on an in-patient unit where there are staff there continuously, 24 hours a day.
As Nurse Anne says, something's very wrong on our acute medical wards . . .