"Person with dementia sent home without A&E..."

About: William Harvey Hospital

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My elderly mother has dementia. She arrived at A&E at about 1.30pm, was discharged about 4.30pm. I was assured by staff nurse that hospital transport would phone the carer before setting off with my mother so the carer could be at mother's house to make sure she was all right after a difficult and confusing day. My mother was finally delivered home shortly before 9pm after waiting in A&E all this time, with no idea where she was and why she was there. No one phoned the carer. It was only because the carer had experience of this kind of thing that she went to my mother's houseand the transport arrived shortly after. When relatives live too far away to collect an elderly person with dementia isn't there a quicker way to get the patient home than have her wait several hours for transport? And shouldn't someone have phoned ahead to the carer? The transport driver said it wasn't their job to do this. No wonder we are all scared to let our elderly relatives be alone in hospital without us safeguarding them - you cannot trust the health service to actually care. If you are 94, frail and have dementia you still have to wait 4 hours to be taken home, after waiting three hours to see a doctor.

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Response from Julie Pearce, Chief Nurse + Director of Quality + Operations, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for providing us with feedback and I am really sorry to hear about the impact of the delays in transport had on your mother's care. We are working with the commissioner of the transport service to support the improvements we are expecting from this new transport service. Please do email me your details and I will pass on your concerns to the transport provider to respond. My email address is Julie.pearce1@nhs.net

I have made a note of the lapse in communication with your mother's carer once the delay in transport had been noted by hospital staff. Please accept my apologies as I can see this would have been stressful for your mother and a challenge for the carer to manage. I will ensure that staff in A&E are made aware of your feedback.

Thank you for taking time to feedback to us.

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Response from William Harvey Hospital

We are truly sorry to hear of your mother's experience, and the impact that this has had on you as her family. The Trust has a dedicated dementia nurse who takes forward and uses patient and relatives feedback to improve services for our patients with dementia. Your comments will be sent to her for review to ensure that the correct processes are followed. In addition your concerns will be logged onto our database for feedback to the division involved in your mother's care and sent to the Lead Nurse for the Division at the William Harvey to review what happened. If you would like to discuss your concerns further please contact the Patient Experience Team at ekh-tr.patientexperienceteam@nhs.net. We would like offer our apologies for your experience and thank you for your feedback as it is important to improve services.

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