"Appalling Elder Care"

About: Hereford County Hospital

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Recently both of my parents have had reason to visit the hospital My 86 year old father suffered a fall in the home, and was suffering with severe back pain and loss of bowel control. He was not suffering from incontinence prior to the fall. He had been upstairs for 2 weeks as he was unable to come down the stairs due to the pain. A hospital admission was arranged after a home consultation with the GP. An ambulance was arranged. Despite arriving in an ambulance on a quiet Thursday afternoon, it took over 4 hours for him to be seen by a doctor, during which my father soiled himself several times We arrived at the hospital at 3pm, he was admitted into a ward 12 hours later. X rays were delayed with no explanation why, the x rays were eventually performed the day after admission. The results were not readily available and a subsequent discharge to home was arranged. This would be a discharge to the same home circumstances that brought him into the hospital with no home visit performed before letting him go. On the day of discharge my dad was notified the X rays results were finally available and he had indeed sustained a fractured vertabrae. His discharge was subsequently delayed on the basis of these findings, He was discharged home with minimal Social Services follow up. He is still bedridden and was granted home help for 45 mins a day. 45 minutes per day is grossly inadequate so I have been compelled to engage a private care services to ensure he is competently cared for. My wife and I reside in the West coast of America and therefore not local to assist with basic activities of daily living. My parents requested a stair lift through Social Services. They were told the wait list is 5 months. No urgency has been placed on this request despite an unsafe home environment. Today my 82 year old mother, fell down the stairs at 5.30am. An ambulance was called. My dad remained at home as he is still not able to get down the stairs and essentially living upstairs. She was admitted via ambulance, she was given X Rays promptly, which thankfully showed no fracture. At 8.10pm she was discharged. She was then notified the NHS Transport stops at 8PM, she was offered no alternate means of transportation and was left to her own devices. We had to prevail on a neighbor to help pick her up as a taxi driver cannot be expected to physically help a passenger not to mention the hefty bill that would have been incurred. It goes without saying that at this point the NHS is sadly failing my elderly and ailing parents. The NHS has repetitively discharged both parents back to the same home circumstances without addresses the unsafe home environment. My mom was lucky this time, will she be next time? does this make the NHS culpable based on poor discharge planning and poor care, yes it does.

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Response from Hereford County Hospital

We’re very sorry to hear of your parents experience and please be assured we want to know when our services are not working well, so that we can continue to improve them. We would value you contacting our Patient Experience Team on makingexperiencescount@wvt.nhs.uk or telephone 01432 372986 so that we can look into this further. Patient Experience Team

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