"Husband discharged without my knowledge"

About: Crosshouse Hospital / General Medicine Scottish Ambulance Service / Patient Transport Service

(as a relative),

My husband who is 90 and suffers from vascular dementia was admitted to hospital last week; I visited him every day either on my own or with a friend. It’s a bit of a run to Kilmarnock from where we live, parking is not easy and on this particular day I could only get parking near the maternity hospital and had to walk from there. On Tuesday we were told he would not be sent home until a ‘carers package’ had been set up, the nurses on the ward were not sure when this would be ready.

Yesterday I went to visit my husband in hospital, went to his ward and found his bed empty, no covers on the bed. It was very alarming.

The two nurses at the ward station told me my husband had been discharged and was on his way home. They realized something had gone wrong as I was at the hospital to visit him and tried to contact the ambulance driver to let him know no-one was at home. There was no explanation why I had not been told he was being discharged.

I was worried about my husband not being able to get in the house. In the event one of my neighbours saw the ambulance arrive and told the driver there was no one home. Another neighbour, who has a key, only saw the ambulance after the driver had already somehow got the door open, setting off the alarm in the process. This neighbour sat with my husband until I returned home.

I’m not sure how the driver got my husband into the house – I believe the driver was on his own, there are steps to the door so my husband could not be wheeled in.

My husband was sent home with a some equipment; I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with this. A physiotherapist has been arranged; they will come sometime today or next Monday or Tuesday. I will need to wait until then to find out.

The carer who comes to help with my husband helped me with the equipment this morning. She had to call her manager to find out about it. The carer has also checked whether a district nurse will be coming to see my husband – apparently this will be on Monday.

This whole episode has been distressing for both of us.

I was so disappointed and upset. He was so well looked after on the ward, the staff were very kind and caring but to be sent home in this way was dreadful.


Response from Fiona McQueen, Nurse Director, Nurse Directorate, NHS Ayrshire and Arran

picture of Fiona McQueen

Dear Mountain619, I am so sorry to hear about your husband being discharged without you knowing about it. I was really disturbed to hear what you went through - finding an empty bed, then knowing your husband was on his way home, and you weren't there to be with him.

I would like to check and make sure that you and your husband are now ok, so it would be realy helpful if you could get in touch so that we know the ward from where he was discharged, and also your details so we can provide any help that you need.

Could you either contact us through Patient Opinion, or phone my office and leave your details so we can be in touch this afternoon. My number is 01292 513674

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Response from Fiona McQueen, Nurse Director, Nurse Directorate, NHS Ayrshire and Arran

picture of Fiona McQueen

Dear Mountain619

Thank you for the feedback. I'm really pleased to know that you've had a visit from the physiotherapist and that your husband is now settled.

I've alerted the hospital management team to what happened and we'll definitely feedback your awful experience to the ward team so we can learn from what happened to make sure it doesn't happen to any other family.

I would still be really keen for one of our senior nurses to talk things through with you or your family - both to apologise and also see what else we can improve in our service.

I hope you and your husband are settled at home - please accept my assurances that we will learn from what happened.

With best wishes

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Response from Ken Mitchell, Programme Director - Scheduled Care, Patient Transport Service, Scottish Ambulance Service

Dear Mountain619,

I am sorry to hear about your recent experience and hope that both you and your husband are now settled. I would also like to apologise for any distress which may have been caused.

It would be very helpful if you could contact us, to allow us to look into the situation, so that we learn from it and ensure a similar situation does not occur again.

You can contact us either through Patient Opinion or by phoning 0131 314 0076

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Response from Eunice Goodwin, Patient Feedback Manager for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Quality Improvement and Governance Team, NHS Ayrshire and Arran

picture of Eunice Goodwin

Dear Mountain619,

I am writing in response to your posting on Patient Opinion regarding your poor experience when your husband was discharged from Ward 2A at University Hospital Crosshouse. I am the Clinical Nurse Manager responsible for this area and wish to express how sorry I am that your experience was not at all what we strive to provide for our patients and their families.

This is particularly disappointing when you said you had been so happy with the care your husband received whilst an in-patient in Ward 2A. I have spent time investigating this matter with the team led by Charge Nurse Watson who wish to offer their sincere apologies, as they would not wish this to be your lasting memory of Ward 2A. It appears that procedure was not followed in your case as you should have been telephoned to make you aware that your husband was able to be discharged that day.

I do hope your husband’s condition is improving and wish him well with his ongoing care and treatment. If you do feel you’d like to discuss this further please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Yours sincerely

Caroline Dickson

Clinical Nurse Manager

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