"Had to fight to get my mother discharged from hospital"

About: Calderdale Royal Hospital / Older people's healthcare

(as a relative),

My elderly mother was admitted to hospital as an emergency as she was dehydrated with a diarrhoea and vomiting bug. The care she received was good and within a week her symptoms had cleared up. Then came the difficult part. The doctor saw her on a Friday morning and said she could go home but the nurse pointed out that there were some blood test results that were still awaited and he then agreed to keep her in hospital until Monday. On Monday the tests were back and were normal but I was told my mother could not be discharged until the doctor had seen her. I asked some of the nurses to prepare everything for her to be discharged such as ambulance transport and drugs to take home but the nurse said they could not do this.

By mid afternoon nothing had happened and I rang again to ask one of the nurses to ring the doctor to find out what time he was coming. When I called back again, I felt this nurse sheepishly told me that the doctor they were waiting for had gone on holiday. I asked the nurse again to prepare for mum to come home and they again said they could not do this. I asked them to find another doctor to discharge her and they did this. The nurse then told me it was too late to book ambulance transport to let mum come home. I rang the ambulance service and they confirmed that it was too short notice for them. I then asked what time the ambulance was booked for the next day and the ambulance service said no booking had been made.

I felt like I had to fight to get my mum out of hospital and I was concerned because:

She was elderly and confused – in my opinion the part of the hospital environment she was in was unsuitable for her needs. I do not think she was being fed well as she needed a gluten free diet and I feel the food offered was not adequate. My mother is also disabled and cannot get into a normal car otherwise I would have taken her home in my own car. Some of the nurses told me that if I wanted her to come home without seeing a doctor then they would not be able to provide an ambulance.

The other issue is that I believe with proper planning she could probably have been discharged on the Friday and as a result she was in hospital for 3/4 days longer than I felt was necessary. This could have meant that someone else could have been treated and less NHS resources wasted. I would like to know why some nurses can’t use their experience and judgment to plan patients’ discharges.

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Responses

Response from NHS Calderdale

Posted on behalf of Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust:

"Thank you for providing valuable feedback on your experience of using our services and I am sorry that you feel your mother's discharge could have been better planned. If you would like to make contact with our PALS team they will be more than happy to investigate your concerns further.

Please contact our office at Calderdale Royal Hospital on 01422 222417 during the hours of 9.30 am - 3.30 pm."

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