Daughters’ anger over dementia father’s treatment at Lewisham Hospital

BY JAMES TWOMEY
james@slpmedia.co.uk

A woman has been left “frustrated and confused” over the treatment her 89-year-old father has received in a hospital.

Sangita Kansal believes her father, Vidra Sagar Kansal, who suffers from dementia, is being left to deteriorate by Lewisham Hospital, which, she says, has not referred him for his entitled six weeks of rehabilitation.

“I have been pushed from pillar to post getting conflicting information from hospital staff, all the while my father is wasting away because there is no activity in his life,” said Ms Kansal.

“He was an active man until recently and we have tried to get him referred to a rehabilitation centre which would improve his health, but the hospital are not letting it happen.”

Mr Kansal recently fell and broke his leg, which led to his current stay in Lewisham hospital, but according to Ms Kansal, the lack of care he receives has forced her to hire care workers to visit him in the hospital while she is at work.

Ms Kansal said: “There was no stimulation for him and had he not had my support and been financially strong enough to meet the expense of carers visiting him in the hospital for three to four hours a day he would have either died or become comatose.

“Their argument was that the rehabilitation centre would not take him because he is not weight bearing yet. His leg has not fully healed, therefore he is classed as not weight bearing.

“However, we are entitled to six weeks’ rehabilitation as my father cannot walk and due to cognition cannot easily learn to walk.

“He needs intense physio therapy and stimulation.

I do appreciate hospitals are limited in resources and the medical staff have good intentions, however, old people with little stimulation in a sterile environment are very likely to decline and possibly give up completely.”

Mr Kansal had been an active member of Age Exchange, a dementia charity in Blackheath, for five years and the charity says he would benefit greatly from a period of rehabilitation.

An Age Exchange spokesman said: “Up until the recent break of his femur, Sagar had been impressively mobile for a man nearing his 90th year; he had also been unswervingly positive, outward looking and supportive of others, particularly those in need.

“I have continued to work weekly with Sagar during his long stay in Lewisham Hospital and have sadly seen a sharp decline in his spirit, motivation and appetite.

“He is deteriorating further with each visit. It’s clear the difference our time together makes, the old Sagar is still very much there, he just needs quality time – support and stimulation – and his mood quickly elevates, what’s more, an improvement in appetite often follows.

“The clinical environment of Lewisham Hospital, combined with its inherent sense of flux, is not the right place to elicit recuperation for Sagar, who has hearing issues and dementia.”

A spokeswoman for the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust said: “We are unable to comment on individual cases due to patient confidentiality.

However, we can confirm that we have received a formal complaint about this case, which we are currently investigating.”

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