"Care for the elderly"

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

(as a relative),

My mother was admitted to Kimberley Ward at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital in May with a chest infection that had been on going for several weeks. As I understand, she was given strong antibiotics, and then had to wait over the weekend to be assessed as nobody was in over the weekend.

My brother visited her on Sunday afternoon and was shocked at the poor way she looked, and he had difficulty waking her up.

I was then even more shocked to receive on Monday a phone call from Kimberley Ward informing me that my mother was feeling much better and they would be sending her back to her care home which was 7 miles away in the afternoon which seemed nothing short of a miracle.

My mother was sent home in a minibus. She hadn’t been able to sit up in a seat for some months and always laid in bed. The driver said that they had to drag her out of the minibus as she was unable to move herself. How long had she been on the minibus? Did it drop others off on the way? In my opinion it’s absolutely appalling that my mother was treated like a lump of meat. Firstly I don't think she was fit enough to go home and secondly the trauma of it probably caused her to mess herself and surely her later cardiac event can't be unrelated. The carer had to completely wash my mother which will have caused her even more stress/trauma.

Mother had been incapable of walking unaided for a long time now, let alone sit up in a minibus. If my mother’s request was heeded, the care home and myself should in my opinion have been informed that she was close to dying and allowed to die. She arrived back at the home around 6pm and was already completely out of it, unresponsive and lying on the bed. A carer took her blood pressure which was high and therefore as a precaution called an out of hours doctor.

By now from my mother’s symptoms (although I’m not a doctor), it seemed obvious her body was shutting down and her wish was to die peacefully in her own bed. She had registered for many years a living will, a copy of which the home had and showed to the Doctor. This did not seem to make any difference to the doctor and an ambulance was called. The carer and the ambulance crew did not feel that it was the time to take her back to the hospital with my mother’s wishes known to the carer, but the crew said that by the “rules” they had to take her.

On my mothers arrival at hospital A & E at around 10.15pm, I called the department who were most concerned about her condition and more interested in why she had been sent home in the first place and with the living will why was being brought to A & E as she only had 2 or so hours left to live.

By this time I was very distraught, I live 65 miles away and was told that my mother was already unconscious and if I made the journey to be with her she would not know I was there.

At 11. 30pm I received the call from a doctor to say that she had died alone in A & E.

My complaint here is why was she was sent home in the first place?

The previous year she had been on the same ward and when ever we visited she never had a drink. When we collected her she wasn't even dressed, we had to get her ready ourselves and find a wheelchair. There seemed to be no care and no help.

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Response from Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

We are very sorry to hear about your concerns. The consultant and ward sister would be happy to meet with you so that you can talk through any issues together. We would be grateful if you would get in touch through our Patient Advice and Liaison Service on 01603 289036 or at pals@nnuh.nhs.uk so that we can arrange this for you. Thank you very much.

Response from East Of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust

Thank you for posting some comments and feedback about the ambulance service. In order to discuss this further, I would be grateful if you could please contact the Patient Services Department on 0300 028 3382 or email eoeasnt.complaints@nhs.net. Alternatively you can write to us at EEAST, Bedford Locality Office, Hammond Road, Bedford, MK41 0RG.

Thank you very much.

Emma Sears

Complaints Manager

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