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Hospitals and dementia

silkiest

Registered User
Feb 9, 2017
381
0
Yesterday teatime mum complained of chest pains and was admitted to hospital yesterday evening. The assessing paramedic asked me if I thought my mum had capacity in regards to her medical care due to her alzheimers, to which I replied most definitely not as she cannot remember her own medical history or understand what her medications are for. I was told medical assessment would ring and keep me informed. Fast forward to today, still no contact so I had to ring 3 times to finally speak to somebody who told me she had never had cellulitis (diagnosed by a GP Saturday) and that the pain was abdominal due to the antibiotics and they were being stopped. I stated she most definitely did have cellulitis that was tracking down her chin on Saturday so they backtracked and said she could keep on the antibiotics but would need gaviscon for her stomach.
Eventually I was rung to collect mum at teatime but when I arrived I was told she had already been collected. I said impossible, nobody else knows to come. After a long wait outside the ward I was told that a DR had taken her out to meet me. Again I asked how - nobody knows I'm here I came straight to the ward. The nurse said I must have notified reception as if I didn't know what I was doing. Nurse disappeared again "to check" but then came bask to help me look for her!!! Mum found wondering ALONE, in the car park, no coat, no phone, no money. As you can understand I was furious. The person looking for her had no idea of her health or discharge diagnosis so I had to wait a further 2 hours to speak to someone in charge.
Long story short they apologised, "just human error" and asked if I was satisfied.
I most definitely am not satisfied. It turns out that she had been passed in less than 24 hours through 3 wards with no mention on any of her hospital records of her Alzheimer's diagnosis.
 

Sarasa

Volunteer Host
Apr 13, 2018
3,687
0
Hi @silkiest , I think you need to raise an official complaint about what happened. I'm sure no one meant to leave your mother alone in a car park, but the fact she'd been on three wards and no one knew of her dementia diagnosis, let alone her medical history shows their procedures need revising. It could have ended in tragedy,
I hope your mum has settled back home.
 

jennifer1967

Registered User
Mar 15, 2020
6,264
0
Southampton
there is no joined up thinking within the hospital. even in outpatients, i always have to phone to explain and that someone will be going with him, usually one of the kids. they have to set up a different system to alert medical staff and wards of existing conditions. i would make an official complaint. its a safeguarding issue
 

silkiest

Registered User
Feb 9, 2017
381
0
Hi @Sarasa @jennifer1967 I have made an official complaint to the ward sister -I had to ask twice to be put through. I have pointed out it is not just human error - it is the system that is sadly lacking. She has agreed to escalate it to the Matron but thinks they do not have the power to get the systems changed and advised I contact PALs tomorrow. I will do that but already have experience with the local PALS ineffective attitude.
I think we need a nationwide way of identifying PWD in hospitals quickly and easily. The red wristband is used everywhere to identify patients with allergies whilst in hospital. Why can't they use something similar for dementia such as a blue wristband. At least the doctor would have thought twice at taking mum at face value when she said she could see her daughters white car amongst all the other white cars in the carpark from 3 stories up.
Mum was extremely confused, she thought on arrival home she had not seen dad for days and was very teary
Broher upset that I'm upset earlier but now I'm just angry.
 

Duggies-girl

Registered User
Sep 6, 2017
2,749
0
@silkiest When the hospital told me that dad would be discharged the next day I gave them my mobile number and said I could be there within 15 minutes of them phoning me. The next day I was up at the crack of dawn ready and waiting for the phone call. I eventually received a call on the home phone in the afternoon telling me that dad had been waiting in the discharge lounge for 4 hours. They had no record of my mobile number which they had been calling me on for the last 3 weeks while dad was in hospital but dad had managed to remember my home phone number so they phoned that instead. They were lucky I answered it because none of us use it anymore.

When I got there I had to kick up a fuss to borrow a wheelchair to get dad to the car because dad could only walk a few steps at a time, he had 3 falls while in their care so they were well aware of his mobility and he could not have possibly walked from the stroke ward to the discharge lounge which was 2 floors above. We eventually got a wheelchair and a porter to help us to the car.

As for communication between wards, I don't think it even existed and what is the point of patient notes if all they do is write in them but don't read them. Between me and dad we had hell on Earth for 3 weeks. Thankfully he forgot about it immediately he was home but it has stayed with me ever since. 3 weeks, 3 wards, 3 falls a heart attack and a stroke, he was admitted for pneumonia so how the heck did all that happen.

Actually when dad came home he was wearing a blue wristband with the word SUPERVISION on it but that was the first time that I had seen it and I had visited twice a day every day.

I realise now that I should have complained bitterly but I was so thankful to get him home alive and I felt so traumatised by the whole episode that I just wanted to put it all behind us and I suspect that happens a lot.

I am sorry that your mum has also experienced shoddy care from a hospital.
 

Sarasa

Volunteer Host
Apr 13, 2018
3,687
0
I'd follow up your complaint with either an email or letter, asking for confirmation that it has been received. That way it can't be ignored.
I'm sure hospitals are not being deliberately unkind, its just they are such bad places for people with dementia as they seem to need patients to have at least some management of their needs, which of course dementia patients don't have. My brother spent most of 2109 in hospital, and he micromanaged his own care. I was there when he went looking for the best nurse to do a blood test, him pointing out that a table was no longer sterile and his joining up the dots between various professionals managing his care. He also kept an eye out on some of the people who couldn't do that, but some patients really needed one-to-one as they were so distressed and confused, but such help just wasn't available. This was all pre-covid, so I guess it's much worse now.
 

RosettaT

Registered User
Sep 9, 2018
619
0
Mid Lincs
When my OH was discharged he was taken down to the discharge lounge at 11am I was told he would be home by 5pm because he wasn't allowed home without a care plan in place.
The carer was arranged for 7pm. I rang at 7, 8, & 9, 10pm to ask where he was, the carer had come and gone after 2 mugs of coffee and watching TV for an hour.
At 10pm I was told he could be anywhere as the discharge lounge closes at 9. I said well you've 5 minutes to locate him, he is a vulnerable adult and if I find he has just been left unattended there will be consequences. I got a call back within 3 minutes from a nurse, from a totally different ward, sitting in the discharge lounge who said she had volunteered to sit with him and the hold up was because the transport for my OH had been diverted 3times, once at 4 O'clock and again twice at 9 -10pm. Apparently it had been sent to a hospital 50miles away to pick up a passenger who had made his own way home, then diverted again on it's way back.
My OH finally arrived home at midnight. No carer to help put him to bed so I had to call my neighbour.
I too was emotionally drained and should have made a complaint.
There was very little understanding on the wards about dementia, no appropriate ward and no info was passed from ward to ward of which he was in 6 different ones in 2 weeks.
PALs have good rep usually, I hope you get an appropriate apology and some some change to the protocols.
 

Lawson58

Registered User
Aug 1, 2014
2,555
0
Victoria, Australia
My local hospital identifies PWD by a butterfly. When mum was in hospital the butterfly logo was on her bed and held on any records they had for her.
I think symbols like butterflies disappear into oblivion when stuck on files or beds. However, every patient wears an ID band so why not attach a stud, button or something similar in a distinctive colour right next to their name on the band. They always check ID bands before giving meds etc so it would be harder to miss (and therefore no excuses).
 

silkiest

Registered User
Feb 9, 2017
381
0
Wow, the more I read , the more I am convinced that there should be a nationwide way of recognising vulnerable people. My father who is registered blind keeps asking how people with nobody to help them manages.