"Worse on discharge than when admitted."

About: Royal Lancaster Infirmary

What I liked

This is about the treatment of my elderly mother who was admitted to the RLI. The Health Care Assistants were excellent. They passed on more information about my mother's care than the nursing staff. They looked after her with care and dignity. They were cheerful and worked hard.

What could be improved

How to treat elderly patients with mental health difficulties for a start. The Consultant? Waste of time. Not once did he bother to call the rest of the family to discuss my mother's care. What is the point of asking questions of someone who has no idea of what is wrong with them? Nursing Staff? They gave her the wrong drugs. They gave her the wrong dosage. Physiotherapists? Brought the wrong equipment but never mind, lets use it anyway! And when it doesn't work... oh well, we'll discharge her.

What could be improved...Check the drug sheet. Make sure people can reach and are eating the food and drink that are on their tables. Talk to their family about the tests they have had when they have a diagnosis of a condition that gives them limited mental capacity. Use the right equipment. And please, please don't discharge someone just because you need the bed and can't find another ward for them. It's quite disgusting.

Anything else?

My mother came out of this hospital worse than she went in. She was discharged when she shouldn't have been. We have no idea about half of the things she had done while she was in their as no-one bothered to speak to us half the time. YES, we did keep asking, but the Staff were always soooo busy, someone would get back to us. Still waiting.

Don't bother.

Of course there were very good individuals, but they really were the exception. There really is a very bad culture in there.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Royal Lancaster Infirmary

Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. We are very sorry to hear of the difficulties you have encountered and we appreciate that you have taken the trouble to raise your concerns about the parts of our service which did not meet your expectations. A copy of your comments will be passed onto relevant staff including the director of nursing and the medical director.

A key area of recent activity for the Trust is in the management of patient discharge, where it is especially important that older patients have all their support and rehabilitation services in place and effectively co-ordinated prior to release from hospital. We are seeking to take a more focused, integrated approach across the health and social care community. This includes involving clinical professionals such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers, and community nurses at an earlier stage to manage elderly patient needs. We are sorry that we have fallen short on this occasion.

We take all comments about our services seriously, and we would really appreciate the opportunity to urgently review the matter and provide an update on your mother's care. We would be grateful therefore if you could please contact our Customer Service Manager so that we can discuss your concerns in greater detail. They can be contacted via our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on 01539 795 497.

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