"My 97yr old mother's Hospital stay."

About: Borders General Hospital / Acute Assessment Unit Borders General Hospital / Department of Medicine for Elderly (Wards10 & 12) Kelso Hospital / Older people's care (inpatient)

(as a relative),

My mum, was admitted to the Borders General Hospital, Melrose, Scottish Borders in July 2019 with heart failure and confusion. I transported my mum to the A & E department in the Borders  General  Hospital myself,  after talking to staff via NHS 24 and coming to the conclusion it would be quicker than waiting for NHS 24 staff to review her. Once seen by medical staff in A & E it was decided  to admit my mum to the Medical Assessment Unit there. Whilst there, my mum fell and sustained a head injury. My mum had a CT of her head and no lasting damage was found. However I did observe that my mum who at 97 years of age was not supplied with a walking aid, even although I had informed staff on her admission that she used a walking aid due to her being unsteady on her feet. When I asked nursing staff about this, I was told that this ward was not allowed to issue walking aids! I then offered to take in her own one, which I did.

After approximately 1 week my mum was transferred to ward 12 which was much more geared up to providing care of the elderly  and my mum settled in well. My mum received the appropriate care for her heart failure and was found to have a urine infection too which had contributed to the confusion which was new for my mum. Then approximately 4 days later it was decided to transfer my mum to Kelso Cottage Hospital which was considered better for my mum as she lives in Kelso. Although I was pleased with the move, i did feel after this second move since admission to hospital my mum's confusion was exasperated. 

Kelso Hospital is very equipped for care of the elderly and the staff there are very caring. My mum had a bed in a twin room on her own at first and then a lady also in her 90s was admitted into the bed next to her and they seemed to hit it off well and enjoyed each other's company. My mum's confusion appeared to be decreasing which was encouraging. However after about 3 weeks my mum was moved again to another twin room, this time sharing with another elderly lady who was very confused.  I felt this 3rd move since her admission to hospital, upset my mum quite a bit, setting back her recovery. Whilst visiting my mum in the first days after this move my mum would talk about nothing else and I found it quite upsetting seeing my mum in this state. After talking to nursing staff about this, it was felt that this last move had been a wrong move for my mum.

After approximately 2 weeks the confused lady sharing the twin room with my mum was transferred to more appropriate accommodation and another lady was admitted to share with my mum. This turned out to be a better combination for my mum and the two of them started to chat and spend some time together.

After an 8 week hospital stay, I was informed that my mum was to have a home visit with the occupational therapist and they would be in touch with me to arrange a day and time. However instead, after a 9 week Hospital stay I got a phone call one Wednesday whilst at my work, to say my mum was to be discharged home without a home visit, that day, as her package  of care could re start! I informed the nursing staff involved that this was the first time I had known of this decision and things were not prepared at home. The nurse had suspected I did not know and it was agreed that my mum's discharge would be postponed until the Monday when I would be available to meet up with occupational therapist and my mum for a home visit/discharge. The discharge went ahead on Monday with 2 members of the occupational therapist department and myself and of course my mum at her home address in Kelso. 


Response from Karen Maitland, Assistant Service Manager for Unscheduled Care, NHS Borders 11 months ago
We are preparing to make a change
Karen Maitland
Assistant Service Manager for Unscheduled Care,
NHS Borders
Submitted on 26/09/2019 at 16:54
Published on Care Opinion on 27/09/2019 at 09:24

Dear Cat lover 99

I am very sorry to hear that your mother sustained a fall during her admission to the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) at the Borders General Hospital. I am pleased that your mother suffered no long lasting damage as a result but understand how distressing this must have been for you both, particularly when your mother was already unwell.

With regards to the lack of provision of a walking aid for your mother, it is correct that nursing staff in MAU do not issue walking aids as they do not have these in stock within the ward and it was appropriate for you to be asked to bring in your mother's from home.

However, what could have been arranged meantime was for an referral to be made to our Rapid Assessment & Discharge Team who are a team of physiotherapists and occupational therapists who could have assessed your mother's requirement for a walking aid and arranged for one to be provided if required. I am sorry that this did not happen on this occasion and will ensure that the details of your mother's experience are shared with the MAU staff to avoid this happening in the future.

I was pleased to hear that your mother was more settled during her time in Ward 12 which is one of our Department of Medicine for the Elderly wards and as you stated, is the more suitable environment for patients like your mother whilst in our acute hospital setting.

Regarding your mother's stay and subsequent discharge from Kelso Community Hospital, I am sure that one of my colleagues within the community team will respond to your concerns directly.

I hope your mum has now fully settled in again back home.


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Update posted by Cat lover 99 (a relative)

Thank you for your speedy response it's much appreciated. I am very aware of the pressures the Borders General Hospital are under and do appreciate everyone tries there best in these difficult circumstances.

Response from Andrea Johnstone, Senior Charge Nurse, Kelso Community Hospital, NHS Borders 11 months ago
We are preparing to make a change
Andrea Johnstone
Senior Charge Nurse, Kelso Community Hospital,
NHS Borders
Submitted on 30/09/2019 at 16:30
Published on Care Opinion on 01/10/2019 at 10:51

Dear Cat Lover 99,

Thank you very much for your honest feedback. Having a loved one in hospital can be a very worrying time and I understand the frequent moves throughout your mothers stay was very distressing for you both. I am sorry that this has happened, and I have spoken to the nursing team at Kelso Hospital to ensure that your mum is not moved again whilst she is with us.

I have also spoken to the team about your experience regarding discharge planning. I am sorry for this also. We all agree this was very much below our usual standard of practice and are currently planning and putting improvements into place, to ensure this does not happen again.

I am pleased to hear that you find the staff very caring at Kelso Hospital. We have been working hard to achieve a kind, caring and compassionate culture within the ward, and I strive to ensure this continues.

Kind Regards


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Update posted by Cat lover 99 (a relative)

Thank you for your quick response it is much appreciated. I understand the pressures a hospital like yourselves are under and would like to take this opportunity of thanking all staff for their continued hard work and commitment to making all patients, including my mother's stay in hospital as comfortable as possible. I'm hoping by highlighting the issues raised that changes may be made for the future.


Response from Andrea Johnstone, Senior Charge Nurse, Kelso Community Hospital, NHS Borders 10 months ago
We have made a change
Andrea Johnstone
Senior Charge Nurse, Kelso Community Hospital,
NHS Borders
Submitted on 28/10/2019 at 14:56
Published on Care Opinion at 15:39

Dear Cat Lover 99,

I just wanted to let you know that we have been working on our discharge planning as a whole team, and have looked at and altered our ways of working and communication procedures in order to achieve effective discharges consistently.

I hope you will see this when your mother is discharged from our care in the future.

Best Wishes,


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