"Discharge with insufficient notice"

About: Galloway Community Hospital / General Medicine

(as a service user),

My aunt was recently a patient in the Garrick ward of Stranraer hospital for three weeks after a fall.

The care on the ward seems to have been excellent though I was unable to visit personally - the staff all seemed caring and patient with my aunt.

After the initial checks my aunt was found to be suffering from paranoia and confusion, medication was prescribed.

I had several phone calls with staff, but never with a doctor. I was advised that my aunt would probably be moved to the rehabilitation ward prior to her discharge when a care package would be in place around mid September.

I was advised that it might be necessary to start looking at getting power of attorney and possible move to a care home.

On Monday of this week I spoke to my aunt and she was in a poor state mentally - I understood from staff that no change was planned.

However, on Wednesday, I rang the ward for an update only to be told that my aunt was waiting to be discharged and the ‘STARS’ team would be going in from that evening. I pointed out that there was no warning whatever of this and that there was no food, milk or anything necessary for her in the house - I had asked for 24 hours notice. 

I was able to get shopping and stock the fridge etc but am very concerned that, had I not been able to do this my aunt would have arrived home to no food and the heating turned off (she has the heating on all the time as she feels the cold)

As it was, she was dropped off mid afternoon and a couple of hours later I had a call from a concerned friend to say that my aunt had called her in an awful state, she was covered in diarrhoea and no one to help. Again, thankfully, I was able to go round, to find her filthy, sitting at the kitchen table surrounded by three weeks of post which she had torn up and thrown on the floor. I showered her and cleaned up but am very concerned that she should have been left to cope alone when she was clearly in no fit state to manage.

Today, Thursday, the situation has settled somewhat and the care is in place.

I do not wish to complain in any way about the treatment my aunt received while in the hospital, only about the discharge, which seemed to me to be to be rushed and not planned, particularly that I was not informed.

Kind regards

Her next of kin

Responses

Response from Wendy Barron, Short Term Assessment and Reablement Service (STARS), Short Term Assessment and Reablement Service (STARS), NHS Dumfries and Galloway last month
Wendy Barron
Short Term Assessment and Reablement Service (STARS), Short Term Assessment and Reablement Service (STARS),
NHS Dumfries and Galloway
Submitted on 29/08/2020 at 10:32
Published on Care Opinion on 31/08/2020 at 09:10


Dear Bob it

Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback about your Aunt's discharge home and your unsatisfactory experience. Please accept our collective sincere apologies. We need to hear your feedback so we can learn from this and ensure better communication and family involvement happens for everyone consistently when returning home.

As Service Manager for the STARS Reablement service I would welcome speaking to you to see how we might be part of the solutions here when supporting discharge home. We work closely with all our colleagues during hospital discharges aiming to ensure everyone feels informed, confident and prepared inclusive of family and Carers. So it is disappointing to see we clearly did not achieve that for you both.

Could you consider contacting me directly please so we can work together on how we ensure this does not arise again? I would also like to be reassured, from your point of view, that you feel your Aunts needs are now being understood and supported well within her home.

best wishes

Wendy

wendybarron@nhs.net or call 01387 241500

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Response from Alexis Brain, Patient Experience and Safety Manager, Acute and Diagnostic Services, NHS Dumfries and Galloway last month
Alexis Brain
Patient Experience and Safety Manager, Acute and Diagnostic Services,
NHS Dumfries and Galloway
Submitted on 01/09/2020 at 14:57
Published on Care Opinion at 14:57


Dear Bob it

Thank you so much for taking the time to make us aware of your Aunt's experience when being discharged from hospital. I am naturally disappointed to learn that her experience was not as it should have been and would like to offer my sincere apologies for any distress caused to both your Aunt and to yourself.

As my colleague at STARS said in her reply to you, it is absolutely essential that we hear about cases like your Aunt's discharge where things do not go well in order that we learn how to improve services for the future.

I am terribly disappointed to hear that the communication from the ward team was less than satisfactory, particularly as you describe the care up until this point as being excellent. I am truly sorry that you did not have adequate forewarning that your Aunt was being discharged It is her good fortune that you were available to provide shopping and ensure that the house was warm for her return.

I can fully understand how frustrating and disappointing this must have been for you considering the positive care experience your Aunt had while an in patient, however we clearly have a long way to go to meet acceptable levels of communication around the discharge process.

I would like to reach out to you to ask you to contact the Patient Experience Team in order that we can learn more about the experience of your Aunt and take further steps to ensure that it does not happen to anyone else. Please be assured that I will be passing all of your comments on to the ward involved, however I would urge you to contact our Experience Team to allow further investigation. Please drop us an email at dumf-uhb.dgpatientexperience and a member of the team will contact you to discuss further.

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us, I would like to wish your Aunt well and hope that she is coping with being at home, Please consider my offer to reach out to us to discuss this further

Kind regards

Alexis

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Update posted by Bob it (a service user)

Hello Alexis, many thanks for your reply to my comments. I have just spoken with Wendy from Stars and am really impressed with the response and that steps are being taken to improve the discharge process for people such as my aunt.

I am very happy with the way in which you are all dealing with this, realising that things are certainly not easy, especially just now.

My aunt seems to have improved in some ways since being at home and the care she has received from the Stars team has been excellent. Crossroads is taking over from today and I am stepping back for a day or so to let them settle into a routine. Mentally, my aunt seems improved slightly, and if this continues I hope her medication will be reviewed at some stage.

Response from Alexis Brain, Patient Experience and Safety Manager, Acute and Diagnostic Services, NHS Dumfries and Galloway 4 weeks ago
Alexis Brain
Patient Experience and Safety Manager, Acute and Diagnostic Services,
NHS Dumfries and Galloway
Submitted on 02/09/2020 at 12:41
Published on Care Opinion at 12:41



Dear bob it

Thank you so much for the update and I am absolutely delighted to hear that your Aunt is doing well.

I would like to reassure you that I have been in touch with the staff at the Galloway Hospital and they are taking steps to learn from your Aunt's poor experience in order to improve communication with families and carers particularly around the discharge process.

It is only by learning from our patients' experiences that we can take steps to improve our care for the future, and I would like to thank you once again for taking the time to share your story.

I hope that your Aunt continues to make good progress, and I would like to wish you both well

Kind regards

Alexis

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