"Discharging my confused elderly father to a cold house, alone"

About: East Of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust / Patient transport Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital / Older people's healthcare

(as a service user),

My father was in the NNUH for the second time in three weeks. He is 88 years old and lives alone, he was the carer for my mother who died three years ago from Alzheimer's.

We live three hours away and after discussions with medical and O.T staff on Wednesday we were told he would not be coming home until a full care package was put in place which we would be kept fully informed about.   Apart from heart failure and kidney failure he had a bad burn on his leg that was infected.

When I spoke to the hospital at 13:08 hours on Friday, I was told that he was very confused and the doctor had been to look at him. At 15:40 hours the same day I was telephoned to say he had been discharged and was on his way home. I explained that we were not there, as they knew from his notes, the heating was turned right down.

I was told 'the care package was in place' with a carer calling in that night. I contacted a neighbour who found my father sat on his staircase in the hospital gown he had been discharged in, shivering with cold. Apparently when the ambulance crew took him home he wanted to go upstairs to get some warm clothes. I don't supposed it mattered to them that he was at the bottom of the stairs and his stair lift was at the top of the stairs.

I don't expect for a minute that this is a one-off or that anything will change, I don't blame the staff as they are working with unrealistic, unachievable deadlines. I hope if you are ever in this situation you will receive a little human kindness and care.

I appreciate that there is a great demand for beds but surely there is also room for common sense and compassion towards those you are entrusted to care for?

Responses

Response from Marian Burgess, Patient Experience Lead, East Of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust

I am sorry to hear of your father's experience, I do hope that he is now comfortable at home.

Thank you for your feedback. I would like to investigate the concerns you have raised and would be grateful if could email eoeasnt.feedback@nhs.net with a contact number to discuss this further and your father's home address the crew took him to. With this information I will be able to confirm that the staff work for East of England Ambulance Service and begin an investigation if you would like us to do so. Could you please quote MB69 to enable me to link this feedback and your email.


Thank you

Kind regards

Marian

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Response from Sarah Eastwood, PALS Manager, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Family Member

I am sorry to read of your father's experiences regarding his discharge from hospital. I hope he is recovering well.

I would be grateful if you could contact me at pals@nnuh.nhs.uk so we can take your father's contact details and more information, and arrange for this to be investigated. I look forward to hearing from you.

With kind regards

Sarah Eastwood, PALS Manager

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