Calls for care assistants at Queen’s

�Elderly patients at Queen’s Hospital are going hungry because there is not enough staff to feed them, a health pressure group says.

Havering LINk wants more care assistants at the hospital in Rom Valley Way, Romford to help care for old and vulnerable patients.

Cliff Reynolds, vice-chairman of the patient’s discharge group at Havering LINk, said: “There is a desperate need for care assistants so that the staff can do their jobs and the carers can help people who are in need.”

The group published a report after an unannounced visit made to Sunrise wards A and B in October.

It found one patient was given his food but hadn’t eaten it 20 minutes later because there were not enough staff to help him and a patient with a black eye who fell after she was forced to get out of bed by herself to use the toilet when nobody responded to her buzzer.

Mr Reynolds said: “From a management perspective the staffing levels were correct, but the nurses can’t do their jobs if they have to stop off and help people to eat and drink.”

The group recommends staff do not fill water jugs to the top after they saw a patient struggling to reach it.

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It called for patients who need help eating to have red trays so they can be identified and training be given to help staff deal with those with dementia.

The group found positive things on the wards with patients being given support to choose their foods and menus being read out to patients.

Mr Reynolds said: “It is the same old story, the staff are doing everything they can but because the management are not aware of the challenging behaviour they are not providing enough staff.

Director of Nursing Deborah Wheeler said: “Sunrise A&B now have a dedicated meal manager on duty throughout the day who ensures that all patients are receiving the food and drink they need, and are given any help needed at mealtimes.

“The wards have also had an increase in nursing numbers in recent months so that they are fully appropriate to the needs of an acute elderly Unit. We are introducing a trust-wide training strategy for all staff so they have complete knowledge and information to interact and work with people with dementia.”