"My elderly mother's admission to hospital after a fall"

About: East Surrey Hospital / Older people's healthcare South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

(as a relative),

My 95 year old mother was admitted to East Surrey hospital for a brain scan after a fall.

The hospital was closed because of the norovirus so no family visits were allowed and my mother is dependent on family members to help her in hospital - as she can't hear properly, is severely visually impaired and has poor cognition and communication skills.

Hospital phones on the ward weren't answered for hours at a time so we had no way of finding out how she was. By the time I gained access to her (by coming to the hospital and sitting outside the ward) she was seriously distressed. Her sheets were covered in blood when we found her even though the brain scan was clear and there was no reason for medical intervention.

We finally got Mum discharged, after saying we would do it against medical advice, and she had to wait 4 hours for an ambulance.

100% credit to the fantastic paramedics who returned her into her own bed at the care home with humour and a lot of TLC, despite it being late at night.

Things that could be improved: advice for relatives of elderly and vulnerable people admitted when the hospital is closed to visitors and clear and transparent access arrangements for them; proper communications easily accessible.

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Response from Eloise Clarke, Communications Manager, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear 'bannedbynorovirus'

I am pleased to hear your mother is back in her familiar surroundings in her nursing home. Being in hospital can be very unsettling and worrying for many elderly people, and I am very sorry to hear that on this occasion it sounds as if we did little to alleviate your mothers and your concerns.

We know no one wants to be in hospital but we try to ensure we make our patients’ stay is as comfortable and as pleasant as it can be. It seems we didn’t do this for your mother.

We would like to investigate this further and would very much appreciate you getting in touch to tell us your contact details, your mother’s name and the date of her admission, and the Ward name if you can remember it.

Many thanks,

Eloise Clarke

Eloise.clarke@sash.nhs.uk or 07944607013

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