Dad left out to dry … …
From a frustrated Daughter and Son
My dad was last admitted to hospital in Jan this year, 2014, with acute confusion so they called it! He was (is) a very poorly 63 year old man, he is diabetic and has ulcers on his feet with infection from the care home he was living at only now learning that he got the ulcers due to being poorly equipped with the right mattress and poor care within the home. There was district nurses tending to my father’s dressings on his feet every day so we were told, we were discreetly informed by one of the carers that on numerous occasions the district nurse did not either re-dress his feet or even visit the home. With the infection progressively getting worse in his system affecting him from toe to head, he was delirious, confused.
We asked the hospital to keep us informed on any matters regarding my dad, we also spoke with ward nurses regularly for updates on my dad. We were told in this time that his feet/legs would have to be amputated which was discussed last year when was last in hospital but then we were told feet seemed to showing signs improvement. But now he could not be operated on because he is too ill and still had the infection in his system. We were then informed shortly after that his feet were showing signs of improvement and healing, and they were looking at alternative treatment.
The hospital after a several days sent him back to the home without informing us, he was being discharged even when we spoke to the ward nurses on the morning they said nothing to us, and assured us he was better, but in fact we learnt he’d already been discharged at this point and was waiting for transport. He was back in the care home for 2 days then admitted back in hospital with exactly same symptoms as before. My dad was in observation ward for several days before being transferred to a ward, when I visited my dad he was not on an air mattress when I spoke to the nurse they said that one is on its way for him I believed and trusted their reply. The next time I visited the air mattress was sat still wrapped on floor next to his bed when I raised my concern with nurse that he should be I was told they didn’t have the right bed for it go on yet!
On several occasions in hospital I witnessed carers asking my dad to push himself up the bed on his feet I pointed out to them that he put pressure on his feet and why (they knew nothing of this). On other occasions my dad’s feet were seeping all over the foot of the bed because they were being left too long before being redressed on one time we know about they were left for 3 days!! Even though we were told his feet have to be keep dry or theinfection/bacteria will over take is body again, and this being its life threatening to my dad.
We as a family have raised various complaints to the hospital PALs team regarding poor duty of care, my dad’s file being misplaced so not being able to be discussed in consultants weekly meetings on his status, treatment and progress. We were told of a decision regarding amputation. On our last meeting with the consultant in April we were told that my dad wouldn’t be medically fit for amputated as the infection is now in his bones and he was in a very bad way. We were then told that he could only have weeks maybe months, the consultant told us that they had only one more final antibiotic they could try for my dad, but if there was complications they would resuscitate as they said they had exhausted all other avenues of treatment. Only days after our meeting we discovered that the hospital was going to be sending him back to the home even though he was clearly a very poorly man. My dad has thankfully started to get better but for how long?
We as a family said under no circumstances is my dad to be sent back to the home where we felt he was neglected, and his needs has changed now to nursing needs due their negligence.
We had to seek the help ourselves as we were given no advice of who or how when to talk to social services as none of this information was passed over from the hospital. After numerous calls trying to contact the PALS team (patient advice liaison services) we were told that someone would be in touch shortly, this never happened, we had to chase again. We were told that he would be allocated a social worker and that they would be in contact, again this never happened.
We then contacted social services ourselves after more calls and waiting we finally spoke to someone that knew “something” we were told that his allocated social worker had now moved departments and that my dad’s file didn’t have the up to date and correct information in it regarding his nursing needs. His new social worker was preparing to send him back to the residential home, and knew nothing of his current care needs.
They assured us he will not be going back to the home, so now we are waiting for a placement nearer the family so we can be more involved in his care, but still the hospital had tried to discharge him back to the home in question!!! Only by chance we phoned in the morning to ask how my dad was doing that they told us, needless to say we put our foot down. The slow and poor communication meant that my dad could have easily been sent back to the home if we hadn’t called.
Only now after all our chasing are we getting the right information talking to the right social worker although we are still chasing them! I feel the experience we’ve had with the hospital has been disgraceful, lazy/poor duty of care and no communication between everyone is poor and unacceptable for a hospital. We feel my dad has just been given up on by all departments we’ve let down by them and left out to dry in my opinion, it comes to something when we have to make sure there is someone visiting him every day to make sure he receives the right care.