This was sent in by a very exasperated reader
Just read another news article regarding poor hospital discharge planning. An elderly woman suffering from dementia was dropped off by a taxi following her discharge without keys to her home or her family being notified. This story reminded me of my husband’s poor discharge experience following his triple bypass last year.
Although medical staff at St Thomas's were aware of my 65-year-old husband's multiple medical problems and inability to fully communicate due to expressive aphasia from a prior stroke, they discharged him from the hospital whilst I was away in Kent.
I believe this hasty discharge was due to complaints by myself and my husband regarding lack of care on the post surgical ward, but it was incredible that there was a complete and utter lack of concern as to how my husband's care would be managed post discharge.
Fortunately, I was on the train back to the hospital when I was notified of the discharge. I raised my concerns regarding transport, home care, dialysis care post discharge and so forth, but they were dismissed by the nurse in charge.
She didn’t see a problem with him taking a train back to Kent even though he couldn’t ambulate much and didn’t even have a wheel chair! The nurse basically washed her hands of us once the medication was ordered and the discharge paperwork was complete.
By the time all was said and done, we ended up paying for a £90 taxi to take him home.
Although the early discharge was probably a blessing in disguise since my husband ended up getting more rest and care at home, the stress and pressure it put on me as his carer could have easily been avoided. Fortunately, I have some health care experience which proved useful but what if I didn’t know what to do and was elderly, frail or had healthcare problems myself?
There should be checks and balances in place to ensure appropriate discharge planning is in place for patients so they don’t end up back in the hospital or their health and well being isn’t further compromised.