"Discharge Merry-go-round drama"

About: University Hospital Wishaw / Cardiology University Hospital Wishaw / Emergency department

(as a carer),

My dad (aged 85) has had a bad time over the summer. Most recently he has had complex cardiac problems which manifest themselves as mini seizures that cause his heart to race and he passes out and can fall.

He had a pace maker fitted in July and was discharged. For a while he was ok and then he had further problems and falls which led him to be send by amblance back to Wishaw who have been caring for him

He was in hospital all week and being monitored and his medications adjusted. We saw the cardiac consultant on Thursday before the holiday weekend who said with his new cocktail of drugs he would not get home whilst he was monitored for impacts over the weekend including standing and sitting blood pressure checks etc.

To my surprise then on Saturday, when there are no specialist consultants in, I am told he is now fine and can go home. I went in to discuss and asked who had approved this but was told it was 'the most senior doctor in the hospital over the holiday'.  I wanted to talk to them but this was not possible.

He was on new drugs, which he was taking for the first time himself and he had not had education so after a bit of to and fro I was offered an apology as there were no pharmacists on duty he wasn't coming home after all.

Then later that evening I was told by phone that he was being moved to another ward (I subsequently now know that it was a surgical ward and this was just to keep him in without monitoring or treatment until they could discharge him with the right medication) and he would be out the next day.

At each of these instances I stressed that I did not think he was fit for release and that he was liable to falls but was told that he was monitored and fine. He was assessed by a physio and not suitable for an OT referral which couldn't happen anyway until Tuesday after he was discharged.

I went to collect him on Sunday and as there was no pharmacist again available on the holiday weekend I was to bring him back in to speak to the pharmacist on the following morning (today).

This morning, when visiting my dad at his home(he lives alone) he was again very ill and having more seizures. I called the hospital, I was very upset, as I know he shouldn't have been released in the first place.

Now he has been released then guess what? I have to call a GP or come to A&E with an 85 year old and isn't mobile and cant get out of a chair.

So again I had to call an ambulance and now he is in A&E - where he has been since lunch time. What a huge waste of resources and time for ambulances, A&E and all the system costs, not withstanding my dads stress and our family stress. We all know where he should be - back in the medical ward he shouldn't have been discharged from. 

How on earth can it be a good idea to put an elderly man on new and potentially dangerous medication, then discharge him without support or monitoring?

I am so angry at this treatment, I know the service is under pressure and obviously a senior professional made a difficult call to move my dad for a reason but this is a merry go round that pushes the problem to someone else. 

This issue is live right now...hopefully he will get the help he needs.

Responses

Response from Faith McCrea, Service Manager, Emergency & Medical Services, University Hospital Wishaw, NHS Lanarkshire

picture of Faith McCrea

Dear Carer Extraordinaire Larkhall

Thank you for getting in touch and I am sorry to hear of the issues that your father has encountered whilst an inpatient here at University Hospital Wishaw, and I apologise to you and your family for any undue stress caused, at what must be a very worrying time for you all.

I would appreciate if you could contact Yvonne Ross our Patient Affairs Manager on 01698 366558, with more information to allow us to be able to feedback to you in more detail and take any appropriate learning.

Many thanks and Best wishes

Regards

Faith

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