"Not Happy As A Long Distance Next of Kin!"

About: University Hospital Aintree

I got a call late on Sunday evening from my mother's care home telling me she'd been taken into Fazakerley Hospital with breathing difficulties. The carer told me Mum was in resus and she was worried because no one was giving her any info. As next of kin I rang the A&E to find out what was happening. I was told Mum was very poorly and it didn't look good and I should be there with her. Bearing in mind my mother's age and the fact I live in Bristol, I told them I would be there the following day as soon as I could get there. I had also been drinking wine and knew it wouldn't be a good idea to drive 3 and a half miles all that way at that time of night, The A&E nurse was understanding and promised to ring me during the night if there was any change. There was no call, so the following morning (Monday) at 6.30 am I rang to see what was happening. I was told by A&E Mum had been moved to the Medical Assessment Unit and when I got through to them I was told by a sister that the reason they didn't ring because they thought I was on my way. I told her what I'd told the nurse in A&E: that I'd been drinking wine, that I lived 180 miles away and that I didn't think it was a good idea for me to drive all that way at that time of night after having been drinking. She said fair enough but Mum was very poorly and I should come as it was touch and go. I could hear the judgement in her voice at my explanation. When I got to Liverpool that morning Mum was still very much with us, in bed, sitting up, agitated, confused, poorly (she has dementia and schizophrenia), but nowhere near at death's door as I had been guilt tripped into believing. I said as much to the charge nurse, who told me her GCS had been 3 in resus and she had been unresponsive. Turned out she had a UTI, of which she's had many. I rang today and found out she had been discharged. My issue is not with the care of my mother but with the treatment I have experienced by this hospital now and in the past as a next of kin from long distance. I don't appreciate being made to feel small because I don't have the means to be at my mother's side straightaway. I had to take an impromptu day off work to be with her on the Monday when there was no need, because I was given the impression by the A&E nurse and the MAU sister that she wasn't going to be with us long. I was told by the A&E nurse that they couldn't give me much information by phone and I was left to read between the lines, yet the last time Mum was admitted I'd had a password set up so I could get more information, but they didn't have a record of this.

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Response from University Hospital Aintree

We're very sorry that you don't feel you were dealt with appropriately as a next of kin who lives a long distance from the hospital, although we are pleased that you note there was no issue with the care your mother received. If you wish to take this further, our Customer Service team can help. You can contact them by emailing customerservice@aintree.nhs.uk, by calling 0151 529 3287/2400 or by writing to: Customer Services department Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Lower Lane Liverpool L9 7AL Thank you.

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