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Hospital Complaints Procedures.

(18 Posts)
Truelock Thu 10-Sep-20 15:19:36

I am afraid this a long post for a first post I hope someone will bear with me & signpost to the best approach.
I 'care' for my Mum's ex next door neighbour they were neighbours for 50+ years so we were raised with Aunty Mary although she was no relative.My parents died & we just carried on visiting etc as you would a family member. She had a fall two weeks ago & a neighbour called an ambulance as she is 97 years old. She has always been independent no carers we do shopping washing etc but day to day she microwaved her meals went to bed etc by her self. She walked down the stairs after the fall & recognised everyone. She had tests & was transferred to a rehabilitation hospital. She can not according to them walk now even thoug she had xrays & scans & has no physical damage. They are trying to say she is not mentally aware I visited the hospital yesterday she knew who I was I took her photos & she knew all the people she knew she wants to go home etc etc she is exactly the same as she has been for the past few years mentally.The nurse was saying she won't have a drink unless you actually tell her she has to which is nonsense due to my & my families observations at visiting.They have catheterized her when she was going to the toilet independently barring the odd accident due to her being slow.The hospital constantly refer to her having no family but we are her family the only one she has ever had. They keep telling her to lie down & her feet are swollen now which has never happened before when I asked the nurse she said she should get on the bed & have a rest that would be a rest from sitting down.She said we don't encourage them to move in case they fall. The deterioration will be rapid if they won't let her move. Now they are wanting to do a mental capacity test and I have said I want her to have someone there as she is hearing impaired. I know this is a tale of woe but I don't want her to end up in a home or bed ridden for no reason. What can I do I have complained to PALS today is there anywhere else I can go maybe an advocate if they won't let us help I am really worried.

Jane10 Thu 10-Sep-20 15:27:32

They will be well used to carrying assessments of capacity with older people with hearing losses. Actually, I'm surprised they're not wanting to discharge her. Sounds like they are being thorough and caring kindly.

Kamiso Thu 10-Sep-20 15:46:51

If you’ve tried to talk to the staff and been ignored I would write to PALS (registering the letter and asking for the recipient to sign for it). and copy in anyone with the vaguest interest - local health authority, her G.P., local councillors, your M.P., Age Concern. PALS are paid for by the hospital trust so not as pro-patients as was originally thought.

Make sure it is clear that you’ve copied everyone in so that nothing can be swept under the carpet.

We eventually told staff OH’s godmother was his aunt when we found her alone on a ward on Christmas Eve because she didn’t finish her lunch. Her nephew was too busy being a church warden to visit for the whole three months she was in hospital, but managed to come up to London to find her will. All the other patients had been taken to a party with a film show.

Most places work hard to take care of the elderly but a few can be hard and callous.

silverlining48 Thu 10-Sep-20 15:57:45

There is no reason why you shouldn’t be there while Mary is being tested. I assume you aren’t far away if you do shopping etc. How often do you visit her?
The hospital need to be made aware of your long term involvement and if you have contacted PALS they should be in touch but you could also contact the social or care manager at the hospital to discuss. Good luck and hope Mary feels better soon.

DiscoDancer1975 Thu 10-Sep-20 16:28:51

It does sound like they are caring for her well to be honest, and covering all bases. She needs to be laying with her feet elevated if they are swollen. That is a normal, first treatment. If you’re worried, have you tried talking to the ward Sister, or whoever is in charge? If you’re still not happy, they are obliged to help you make a formal complaint, but as you’ve contacted PALS, that’s a good first step. Give it time though, Mary is 97! Hope she is soon home and feeling much better.

Toadinthehole Thu 10-Sep-20 16:33:21

I had to make a complaint once, but I seem to remember there were leaflets around the hospital telling you how to do it, should you wish to. Like Disco says though, she’s a fair age, and they need to be sure.

Truelock Thu 10-Sep-20 16:40:40

I really don't believe they are doing anything to help her she was perfectly mobile & using the toilet fairly well and was coherent when she went there addressing her day to day needs perfectly adequately. I contacted her daily by phone or in person. The neighbour called at least daily and her husband popped over & checked all was well visually through the front room window at least four times a day & another neighbour brought the paper which she read & understood.She had no health issues no swelling of the feet & was perfectly mobile all be it slow we went to the the supermarket before Covid & Hairdressers which she got a taxi to independently.I can see no reason why she she would need a Catheter or have swollen feet or not be mobile. I have been to every doctors appointment hospital etc in the last 11 years mainly due to her hearing. She is old & very small they are not looking at the capacity she had but what they assume she can do given her age they are not looking at the person but the age & the longer she sits in that chair for hour after hour the less likely she will be to be able to return to her own home.That is my concern.

Luckygirl Thu 10-Sep-20 16:41:36

This is a difficult one, partly because you have no status as your friend's spokesperson or representative, and (I assume) no-one has power of attorney.

What she could do, in the presence of staff, to try and make sure you are not manipulating her, is to state clearly that she would like you to be involved in her care planning; and then ask the staff to make a note of this on her medical records. This has no legal status whatsoever of course, but it would mean that she had stated her wishes, and ward staff are usually fine to have a friend by the side of someone with no living relatives. It is a grey area as, in my experience, there are sadly "friends" with vested interests of one sort or another - I am not suggesting that you fall into that category, but just trying to explain the situation.

Sadly it is very common indeed for an elderly person who has been managing reasonably at home to start to deteriorate after and fall and/or a hospital admission. This happens all the time, and it is not always because of the hospital's treatment of them, but simply because the fall is indicative of a process of deterioration, and precipitates a worsening decline.

Of course being in hospital is far from ideal, as the staff are often overworked and some of her care needs might be met in a different way from at home - e.g. the use of pads or a catheter. And hospital is of its very nature a bit of a dangerous place for the frail elderly - there are long walks to the toilet, higher beds, strange environment, slippy floors etc.

Physiotherapy and encouragement to mobilise is there, but only once a day for a brief time if you are lucky. In between those sessions, the staff simply need to keep her as safe as they can.

And it is very common indeed for an elderly person who has suffered the trauma of a fall to become a bit muddled - even if only by the surroundings, which are unfamiliar. When you, a known and loved person, roll up they are likely to seem entirely with it; but in the depths of the night, or after just waking and not finding themselves at home it is likely that they might be less on the ball.

So - being in hospital is not ideal for this lady, nor any elderly person, and the staff know that. I am not making excuses for the system, but just stating that this is how it is, and this is the effect it often has on older people. If you feel there are strong grounds for complaint, then PALS is the route to go down, but it is very possible that the staff will simply state that they are following protocols for her safety.

I do know how frustrating it is to be sucked into these systems and to feel a bit powerless - I have been through all this with my OH, and there is no doubt that the system has its flaws.

If you are saying that she needs to be at home, then you need to be talking to them about what you have been doing for her and what, if anything, you might be happy to do for her in the future at home. Before she leaves to go to any destination (her own home or wherever), there needs to be a care plan put in place for her, and you could ask to be involved in those meetings as a concerned friend who is prepared to part of her support system at home. However, I would caution you that, however much you love her, it is a distinct possibility that she will be less able when she returns home and not to take on too much. The statutory services should be the "go to" option and you should be additional to that. You could find yourself with a huge task on your hands.

But I would concentrate on getting her moved to her next destination rather than dealing with complaints which will "do your head in" for sure.

I wish you lots of luck with this.

Truelock Thu 10-Sep-20 17:02:36

Thank you for that I have said that I am happy for her to come & live here we have a bungalow & two daughters within walking distance to help one of whom has worked as a carer and would get carers if necessary. I have also said I will go & stay at her home for a month or so but obviously couldn't leave my own home & family for longer.
I worry that her quality of life is going for no reason.Thank you for the advise.

Truelock Thu 10-Sep-20 17:29:11

Thank you for every answer I had no idea that I might be considered to have self interest at heart. I will take that in to account. I have looked after Mary & her husband for over 15 years I have never had any money from them even for expenses. I have on the odd occasion has £2 for my birthday & £5 for Christmas the thought had not occured to me that people would think that.Thank you for our good wishes & advise

Luckygirl Thu 10-Sep-20 17:46:45

I am not at all questioning your motives, but am aware that staff have to be careful - not everyone is as honest as you are and I have seen some dreadful things happen to vulnerable adults. Manipulation of legacies, charging for "care" which could have been free etc. etc.

52bright Thu 10-Sep-20 17:48:33

It is very difficult when old people have no next of kin or any family who have been remotely interested over the years. Where, as in your case, they have lived long term in a place and have the type of relationship you and your family seem to have, the day to day care, shopping ext devolves on these kindly friends. Problems occur when there is no official record in place to show how close you have been and are. Do you know if your friend 'auntie' ever put a Power of Attorney in place or wrote anything down at all to show the closeness of your relationship? If so this will help you have some say in her care.

If you have evidence of any other proof that would help. If you have been taking her to doctor's appointments ext her doctor might confirm your relationship to the hospital.

If she is not confused that will help, but unfortunately, if she is confused it puts the hospital in a difficult position.

I don't know what else to suggest but I do know how hard this situation can be as I have seen similar situations. Good luck op, Hope you can continue to be a support to your dear friend. flowers

52bright Thu 10-Sep-20 17:56:45

Just another thought. After my dmil, a very sharp witted, 'all there' 94 year old was admitted to hospital after a fall, she became very confused. It turned out she had a urine infection but the family had to be very insistent about getting her tested. As you said earlier op, the hospital staff were inclined to believe her confusion was age related because, of course the had not seen her before her admission to hospital. A course of antibiotics brought her back to her usual self pdq and they soon realized their mistake grin Maybe you could ask if she has been tested for a urine infection and if not you could try to insist on one.

MissAdventure Thu 10-Sep-20 18:20:43

I have put in a complaint to pals, and all of the issues were dealt with, almost the next day.
The ward manager asked to see me, she apologised for some things, and blistered a bit about others.
It was the outcome we were looking for, as we didn't want to cause trouble.

Truelock Thu 10-Sep-20 19:30:25

up date my daughter has been to the hospital she is up & walking this evening when yesterday she was reported not to be able to stand! The catheter is gone & she tried to go to the toilet but there wasn't a member of staff to take her quick enough & my daughter wasn't allowed so she had a bit of an accident but she is walking I am so pleased.She has had someone talking to her about getting help she wasn't sure who. It looks like my call to Pals might have got some attention I might sleep tonight"I am the person named the GP calls etc & all utilities bills care call etc. so I suppose that proves I am not dishonest if it should come to it.

Tweedle24 Thu 10-Sep-20 19:42:21

If she agrees, it would help if she can give you Power of Attorney. Any future incidents would mean you being involved in decisions. I am not sure if the welfare one can be arranged alone. My daughter has PoA for finance as well.

I know there are people on here in the legal profession who might be able to advise you.

I am glad tour friend is improving, it is not unusual for elderly people to become confused and sometimes immobile when moved to unfamiliar surroundings, particularly after a fall. We used to call it ‘relocation syndrome’ but, this is not a recognised medical term.

trisher Thu 10-Sep-20 19:55:15

I'm so pleased your friend is improving. There should be a series of team meetings looking at her care. Usually everyone involved goes to this- her nurse, physio, doctor, care assistant. She should be invited as well and can ask that you be there. If I were you I'd ask to speak to her assigned nurse and explain a little to her.This meeting should identify her problems and what treatment she is receiving. There should be a special one if she is to leave the hospital to discuss her after care. I'm sure your kind offer of help will be welcomed. Hope she is soon out of hospital and enjoying her life again.

Elizabeth1 Sun 13-Sep-20 08:31:20

Power of attorney will help you and your aunt go see a solicitor they’ll pay your aunt a visit in hospital and assess her competency to sign POA over to you. I made a complaint to my local rehab hospital and I received help with it from the patients advisory service google them and email them your concerns I had a very kind lady visit me pre covid from the patients advisory sector she’s kept in touch all during this period and a well written complaint went out to the nhs unfortunately their reply was inconsistent and my complaint not fully covered therefore I sent in a second and hopefully final response to their outcome. And because it’s taking ages for the nhs final reply I’ve enlisted my MSP who’s pushing on my behalf for a final outcome. She’s lovely and taking a serious view about this. It’s easy to see why my complaint is taking so long to be complete but I’m hanging in there for hopefully recognition of the poor treatment doled out at the time of my rehabilitation. Thankfully I’m now at home and with excellent carers and the help of family members I’m well on the road to recovery. These folk have excellent attitudes and give me tender loving care something we should all receive if ever hospitalised as it should be otherwise Florence nightingale would be turning in her grave well that’s my rant over thank you all for listening. Please pm me if anyone wants to know any more about my experiences I’ve a wealth of them grin