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University College Hospital apologises after elderly Hoxton woman told to wet the bed in night

PUBLISHED: 15:05 19 June 2019 | UPDATED: 15:05 19 June 2019

Melek Kerr was also left stuck after her stairlift broke this week. Picture: Samantha Grace

Melek Kerr was also left stuck after her stairlift broke this week. Picture: Samantha Grace

Archant

University College Hospital (UCH) has apologised and vowed to improve after an elderly Hoxton woman who had been discharged was told to wet herself if she couldn't get to the toilet

Samantha Grace was "horrified" at the comment made by an occupational therapist to her 74-year-old mother Melek Kerr, who had returned home to Shepherdess Walk after a knee replacement and was unable to walk.

She had asked how Melek would get down from her bed to the toilet after they had struggled to lift her onto it.

"She truly upset my mother by taking away her dignity in one sentence," she said at the time, and lodged a complaint. "I question how many people this has been suggested to - those who haven't got family to support or defend them."

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After investigating, the hospital wrote to Samantha last month. In it, the deputy chief nurse apologised, saying: "[The OT] is very sorry and apologises for the distress and upset caused to both Mrs Kerr and you.

"She genuinely thought she was acting in your mother's interests aiming to increase safety at night. However she knows why this suggestion caused upset and the impact on Mrs Kerr's dignity. It was clear from our discussion in February this incident was deeply distressing for you and I would also like to apologise for the avoidable emotional stress."

The hospital is also changing its planning and communication with carers around discharged patients after Samantha said she felt left out of the process and blamed it for Melek having to return to hospital.

"The multi-professional team want to learn from your experience and ensure patients and carers are involved in decisions related to their plan of care and discharge arrangements," the letter states, adding that the team had worked hard to improve the system over recent months.

Responding to the letter, Samantha told the Gazette: "I would like to urge others to speak up and make sure patients are cared for after they exit hospital. Everyone has the right to speak up to ensure people have the proper care when they leave hospital or we will never know if these changes have taken place or been implemented."

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