"My Mother"

About: Pilgrim Hospital / Urology Skegness & District General Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as a carer),

She was admitted to Pilgrim hospital in late April 2013 with an infection. She came out of Pilgrim a week later and went to Skegness for rehabilitation in early May. Seemed OK at first. She went back to Pilgrim in mid May for a CT scan and was back at Skegness that evening. The following day, something about the CT scan spooked the doctor at Skegness hospital and he referred her back to Pilgrim for further consultation. Admitted to CDU the staff nurse told me that a consultant had seen her and the scan and there was nothing acute, so they sent her back to Skegness on the next day.

Back at Skegness in the Gloucester ward Mum didn't seem quite as bright as she had been the first week at Skegness. The nursing staff were gradually completing an Intervention chart that week, but on visiting my mother on the Thursday evening I noticed she was behaving most oddly and seemed confused. Thinking it was an infection I mentioned it to the staff nurse on duty who said her observations had been OK at 6pm. I left at 8pm, the end of visiting time. At 9pm that evening I got a phone call from Skegness hospital to say there was something 'going on' we're sending your Mum back to Pilgrim.

At first they said she'd be going back to Skegness in a day or two but instead admitted her to Ward 8A with a urinary tract infection. This is what she had originally along with a suspected chest infection.

She spent all week on Ward 8A and was transferred to Skegness for rehabilitation on in late May. After one further night at Skegness, on the following morning I had a call from a doctor at Skegness saying that my mother was not capable of receiving rehabilitation and needs to go back to Pilgrim for her condition to improve, inferring that she had been let out too soon.

Not a happy story. Over all this time she has been declining, not getting better.

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Response from Jennie Negus, Deputy Director of Patient Services, United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust

picture of Jennie Negus

Dear corgiboy - you are right that this is not a happy story and I am so sorry for your experience; and more importantly for your mother's experience.

Whilst it is understandable with some older people that there may be some peaks and troughs with recovery your description of events is a worry - would you be able to contact me at patient.involvement@ulh.nhs.uk with some more details so that I can ask someone to review your mothers care pathway and decisions for you?

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Update posted by corgiboy (a carer)

Dear Jennie,

Thank you for your response. Unfortunately, matters have become much worse. I went to see my mother last night at the Pilgrim hospital and found that she had been moved to a room on her own. Thinking this was a little odd, I left the room and found a staff nurse to ask why she had been moved. Imagine my shock when I was told that she now had MRSA swabbed from a vaginal discharge on Tuesday last (25th June).

Prior to this I've had meetings over the last two weeks with various members of staff - social worker and occupational therapist 1st time around, then the discharge nursing team this week. At the first meeting I was told Mum could come back home and have 2 carers 4 times a day, a profiling bed and pressure mattress, hoist etc., at the second on Tuesday with the discharge nurse I'm told Mum will have to go in a nursing home as she needs moving every 4 hours day and night because of a pressure sore on lower back. So I'm getting different stories from different staff. They're not all singing from the same hymn sheet. Possibly a case of too many cooks ........

As a result of this I contacted our local community nurses at the Grace Swan in Hundleby, and they can see no reason why Mum cannot be cared for at home. They already care for patients who are entirely bed bound at home.

Whilst sitting in my car in the Pilgrim car park last night after visiting Mum, I mentioned this (by phone) to Mum's private care lady who is a retired RGN nurse; a lovely lady who has renewed her nursing number in order to do her care work for my Mum.

She was so shocked and disgusted about Mum's condition that she told me to go back in and demand to see the senior nursing officer in charge of the hospital which I did.

After about half an hour I met her and stated quite categorically that I want my mother discharged home, and she agreed to set matters in hand from today to try and arrange a care package. I also phoned the ward sister to let her know that this meeting had taken place too. (Notice that I'm doing the co-ordination here).

I feel that my mother will be much better off at home where I can see exactly what care she is getting. At the moment I've never felt so out of control of events in my and my mother's life. At present I feel a bit like a pilot with a plane in a diving tail spin. At least by getting Mum home I might just be able to regain control and pull out of the dive before hitting the ground.

Response from Jennie Negus, Deputy Director of Patient Services, United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust

picture of Jennie Negus

Dear corgiboy - thank you for your reply and for your e-mail to me directly....I am hoping that all is now resolved or on track for your mother? I asked our Head OT and our discharge lead nurse to review her care and decisions about discharge and I understand that there were a number of challenges such as you needing some hospital treatment as well as considering your mothers longer term care needs and difficult decisions about where and how that care could be provided. Our discharge nurse has reassured me that social services and community nursing will ensure all the relevant assesments are done and the best decisions made with and for your mother for the future.

Thank you again for telling us about your experience...it has been really valuable.

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Update posted by corgiboy (a carer)

Dear Jennie,

Thanks for your response.

Sadly the situation hasn't been resolved as I'd hoped. As of yesterday, my mother was re-admitted to the Pilgrim hospital at about 11:40am with a recurrence of the chest infection for which she was originally admitted back in April.

She seemed to be doing well at Seacroft nursing home, and appeared to be getting better. But yesterday at breakfast she coughed up something which the nurse at the home thought was infectious. So, she called an ambulance and the paramedics advised her to have my mother re-admitted to Pilgrim hospital. So here we go again .......

As to the number of challenges, apart from my own hospital treatment for a hernia from which I'm currently recovering, most of them were due to the different ideas on how my mother would be discharged from the Pilgrim. We first agreed one method, planned by the Social Care department at the Pilgrim which was overruled by the discharge nurses which in turn was altered by the Community In Reach nurses. For a 'multi-disciplinary team' to quote from various NHS leaflets, they didn't show an awful lot of discipline, or joined up thinking.

As far as I could see there weren't any 'difficult decisions' about my mother's on going care, it was quite straightforward. The situation was being made difficult for me with too many cooks spoiling the broth. As fast as one discharge process was agreed it had been changed by someone else putting in their ideas on how it was to be done.

Had it not been for my condition, my wish was to have my mother brought home to receive on going treatment at home. Now that I'm on the road to recovery that's what I still want when she is well enough to be discharged, and I'm well enough, of course, too.

I'll send a copy of this response to you directly by email.

Updates, changes and questions related to this story