"Poor Discharge"

About: Kettering General Hospital

On a Saturday my 93 year old Grandma who suffers from dementia was admitted to Kettering General Hospital with a suspected broken hip. Whilst in KGH she was put through a series of tests (ECG / Imaging) and diagnosed with a chest infection. The tests she went through caused her distress and she was left with bruising as she struggled during these being all ready confused. As she was given antibiotics and had seemed to be a bit better on the Sunday when my mother visited Middleton ward she was told it was likely she could go back to her nursing home Monday. However mum received a call from the nursing home to say she had been discharged and taken back to her care home at midnight on Sunday. The care home were contacted by the ward to say she would be discharged and she did not arrive until gone midnight. The ward did not contact my mother who is listed as her next of Kin to say she was being discharged and it was only when my mum rang the ward early Monday morning to see how she was that they apologised and said she should have been contacted. When my mum asked why they thought midnight was appropriate the ward stated 'well it wasn't cold. ' My Grandma is now back in hospital with pneumonia very poorly and I would imagine this was linked to inappropriate discharge on that Sunday night. I am however pleased to hear that my mother feels more reassured by the care she is receiving on Rufford ward. I work in a large acute trust in the East Midlands where correct discharge and care of dementia patients is considered a priority and am saddened to hear about my Grandma's discharge. I recognise that dementia patients can be difficult but nursing cohorts should be in place to care for these patients in the right way in this modern healthcare system. I also understand the pressure on bed spaces and the importance of ensuring patients are kept in hospital no longer than they need to be. My mother had visited the hospital Sunday afternoon and could have facilitated with her discharge and helped to make it more appropriate with people travelling with her that she knows, freeing up a bed space earlier also. I have read your recent CQC report dated 5th March 2014 which notes concerns around staffing levels and caring for people safely. I am aware we are in a national shortage of nursing and managing the vacancies can be difficult, however despite this and more concerning were the comments in the report around basic care. On a positive note and relevant to my Grandma's care I was pleased to read that the inspectors from the visit in January 2014 had witnessed good examples of dementia care. Your vision on your website states that you 'will maintain your reputation as a safe healthcare provider by delivering services of the highest possible quality. ' Starting by getting the basics of healthcare right including appropriate discharge would help to ensure this vision is achieved, there are no excuses to get these wrong in our modern NHS.

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