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District nurses' role - Carers UK Forum

District nurses' role

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
We look after all hubby's bowel care ourselves at home, between the PA and myself (they are trained to do this). If we didn't do it, we would be stuck at home with hubby in bed (he can only do it in bed) waiting for the DNs to come. This would severely restrict our lifestyle, so we began taking it on ourselves years ago (whilst still with the agencies). Because the DNs are ultimately responsible for hubby's bowel care, we are still registered with them, we could stop doing it ourselves at any given point in time. We save them a trip out to our house every other day, meaning that they can go and see someone else who needs them. We save them an awful lot of work actually. Their nurse in charge visited yesterday to check the slings which need replacing. She didn't ask how we were managing still, if we were still okay, if there were any problems, how I was, how's hubby's skin on his bottom! I know that if there WAS a problem we'd tell them, but she just wasn't bothered about any of his bowel stuff. I just wanted her to ASK and she didn't. Am I being too sensitive AGAIN. It feels like they don't care. And to think of all the time we save them by not having to come out to us...........
We've never had any support from our DN's either. They only visited this week because of the complaint letter from the MP. Neither of them were supportive of my role or my Mums disabilities and to be honest treated my Mum as if she was just making up her problems.
I think caring makes us sensitive Fran, I know I am desperate for someone to notice me in all of this but the only people who ask me how I am are on here.
Sad isn't it.
Special hugs Fran xx
I have had only limited contact with District Nurses of late, but the impression I get around here is that they are thoroughly messed-around by their bosses/Local Health Authority/NHS edicts etc, plus having far more to do than is humanly possible, so they just narrow their focus to the one task in hand. They do this simply to get through the day, finding it unsatisfactory that they cannot spend time on talking to patients and carers in the way we (and they) would like.
The only contact we have had with DN's was when Mum came out of hospital after her last knee replacement op in 2007 and then it was a case of us having to chase them to come out to change her dressings etc. It was never the same one twice and they never came to time - Mum ended up having her clips in longer than necesary as there just wasn't anyone available to come and take them out. I even had to give her the daily blood thinning injections as they were so short staffed !

And I think that this is the main problem - there just aren't enough of them. The few that are around just don't have time to do more than is absolutely necessary and I think that asking after a patient or carer comes into the category of 'non-essential'. So it's a case of go in, do the job, get out and onto the next one.
Dad is on lots of medications and needs regular blood tests and should have his BP checked regularly too. My postponing one blood test and asking the GP to include another one early they now take a set of bloods for five different tests twice a year. Before that he had the zulu warriors at him almost once a month for one blood test of another. It must also be easier for the GP to review his medication as a whole rather than bits at a time. Getting any of the district nurses to check his BP is asking for a miracle if it`s not on their "chitty", which it never is as we never know when they are coming out.

Had a similar problem with OH`s bloods although he goes to the surgery most of the time but he is now on a similar track rather than different bloods different weeks.

When OH had his ops his Mr agreed that I attend all his wound dressings as most of the post op infections are caused by bad hygiene with the DN`s. I saw one produce gloves from the pocket of her fleece and thought she would use them to dress a wound. Also they considered tap water suitable for cleansing the wound on a daily basis. Mr had agreed sterile conditions and sterile gloves, normasol to cleanse, individual dressings and sterile disposable instruments for me to use and there was no problem getting same once he had written to the GP with the reason why. We even took our own sterile supplies to the clinic when we had early appointments as we knew the staff may not have the stuff we needed.

Take care
Meg
I have to say that our DNs have been brilliant with my OH.four years ago he had a five graft heart bypass,then got M.R.S.A in the leg wounds where the veins were taken from, the DNs came every single day for four months to dress the wounds.
Also,while he has been suffering with a rare skin complaint ( bullous pemphogoid ) we had two DNs come every day for a month,a Sister and Nurse to pop the blisters and then dress them,now the blisters have stopped coming we just get a nurse comes in once a week to check how his skin is.
One of the nurses is outstanding ,she shows concern for me as well and always asks how I am and am I coping,even before she see"s Hubby.
That's great, Paws. That's what I wanted, I wanted her to talk to me and ask about things, but no. I know they're hard pushed, but we ACTUALLY HELP THEM BY GIVING THEM ONE LESS PERSON TO VISIT on their rounds. Never mind.
I haven't seen hare nor hound of a DN in the last 6 years or so but they were great after Robert had his spinal fusion operation at the age of 13.

The Social Work department said it was nursing care and not social care and withdrew all help when he came home from the hospital. They simply abandoned us.

Bear in mind at that time hubby was working full time and I am disabled myself. Rob had a wound from the nape of his neck to the top of his bottom as he had metal rods inserted into his spine. He didn't require dressings to be changed or anything - the SW staff were simply to work with him the way they did before his surgery.

The DN's came out every day to help me get him out of bed and into his wheelchair despite this not being their job and if it wasn't for them we would have been stuck. They were also responsible for getting us his electric bed as they used tohave control of their own budgets - they don't anymore though.

Eun
A few years ago, I was always arguing with the district nurses regarding the treatment of my husbands bowels. Because of his ms, he lost the "pushing" movement. Horrible subject but we all need to go.

They would come every couple of days, give him an enema and leave him "dangling" in the hoist until it worked where the paid carers cleared it all up. He had no dignity. When this method stopped working, he would have to have a manual clearout. He still had the feeling of wanting to go but his muscles just wouldn't work because of damage to the nerve endings. The District nurses would only come out once a week to carry out this horrible procedure. He would suffer all week until evacuation day. He would literally beg me to call the district nurse to help him but if it wasn't "the day" they totally refused to come out. He went through torture with this refusal to help him any more than once a week.

In the end, he had a colostomy. This changed his life completely. One of the best things that's ever been done for him.

A few years ago he developed his first pressure sore. The district nurse would come out to dress it, it smelt of gangrene and stunk the house out but she "couldn't smell anything". I felt like saying, "you need to get your nose sorted then" but I didn't.... Image

The doctor took one look at it, saw it was infected, got him straight into hospital where he stayed for three months for plastic surgery as he'd also lost 4 stones in weight. All this was told to the district nurse but nothing was done until the doctor came and saw it.
I could cry at the lack of support that so many of you have come up against with the medical teams in your areas. I have to say that the district matron has visited mum regularly since I became more involved in her care last year. In fact, when mum was in hospital recently she was ringing the ward daily and visited her at the nursing home even though it is now outside of her area. The same matron is now in the process of seeing if mum can have funding for 24 hour nursing care at home (I don´t actually agree that this should happen and think mum is physically better off where she is but bow to her judgement and mums wishes). It seems to me that it is just a lottery whether you get the help and support that is needed to care for loved ones. I do wonder though if I was actually living in the UK if things would be very different. I think there is definately the attitude that if there is someone else around (doesn´t seem to matter if it is even Bob the builder) that can take on the caring role then the medical teams back off and the carer is expected to manage regardless. Let´s hope and pray that things improve in the future for the sake of everyone.