Another mess we are in

I help care for my father who has complex needs (hemiplegic following a stroke, on dialysis for kidney failure, several heart attacks, colitis, low vision and deaf amongst other things). In December when patient transport were taking Dad home there was an incident (the driver used a weighing machine rather a wheelchair to transport him and then tried to transfer him outside the hospital in the dark) in short his arm was broken. An investigation is being held and Dad has been in hospital ever since: unable to mobilise. He subsequently had another heart attack and caught an infection.

The hospital have now started to talk about discharge. I used the nhs giuidance kindly circulated by Chris (thank you) and objected to them trying to discharge him unable to walk (they have done this twice previously and the promised community physio/ additional care never materialised). It now transpires that the care agency who previously supported Dad are saying they don’t have the staff to help him - I’m abseiluteky gutted as Dad and I had built a good rapport with one of the carers in the past six months and we will have to start all over again (we’ve had nightmare with carers in the past). The hospital/council are also refusing to provide Dad with a hospital bed although even the nurses on his ward say he absolutely needs one and it will be improssible/unsafe to move him in his bed at home. We applied for continuing health care but haven’t been successful. I’m completely exhausted and freaked out about what is going to happen.

I’m not sure why I am leaving a message - I suppose just hoping some of you might understand how desperate I feel. It’s like each time someone creates a problem Dad and I just have to deal with all the messy consequences and they walk away. We are both exhausted and feel so alone. Thanks for listening.

If the nurses are saying he has to have a hospital bed, then that is what he has to have. Ring the CEO’s office at the hospital and say this is an “unsafe discharge”, especially as it was the hospital’s NEGLIGENCE that put dad in this situation in the first place. Have you made a legal claim yet. If not, do so asap and let the hospital deal with a solicitor.

Your welcome , Faye.

Seconded … follow BB’s wise recommendation !

CHC / NHS Continuing Health … quote at the top of the main thread :


If it isn’t , NHS Nursing Funded Care … perhaps ?

" I don’t like the chef’s special ! "

( Whatever they are trying to palm off on you … even mutton dressed as lamb ? )

Thank you for the supportive responses. I am sorry for the delay in responding but things have been very difficult - my father’s health has deteriorated further.

I have referred the case to a solicitor (he is going to need additional care and equipment once he’s out of hospital). The solicitors I have consulted have said that they can’t act until they receive a copy of the investigation report which we have been promised we will receive shortly. To add to our frustrations the hospital trust has rejected our complaint saying we have to take the issues up directly with the private company that they contract to provide transport - that it’s nithibg to do with them. This feels really unfair- we have no say in who provides the patient transport the Trust award the contract. They are a big multinational company and have been really difficult to pin down. I just don’t know what to do. I just feel as though we re being crushed from every corner.

Hi Faye.

Difficult but … if the hospital is passing the buck to their agent . a private company … and something goes wrong , the principal
( The hospital ) is liable for the actions / failure of the agent ( Private company ) … basic principal / agent law … my take on
that but … ONE TO BE BOUNCED OFF YOUR SOLICITOR , HE’S PAID TO KNOW THE TRUE LEGAL POSITION .… any exclusion clauses in contract between the hospital and the private company ??? … that’s for him to sort out , NOT anyone on here !

In short , buck passing ???

Short of that , be guided by your solictor … if savvy , also bounce the possibility of CHC / Continiuing Healthcare off him …
you have nothing to lose by asking him , and everything to gain.

Faye, the hospital are wrong, I’m sure. The liability lies with them, not the private ambulance company. Definitely ask the solicitor about this.
I know I read someting very relevant in a book I bought recently, just can’t lay my hands on the book right now.

Yep … basic principal / agent law.

Be wary of any exclusion clauses in contract between the two trying to override that bit of law.

I suspect that whoever wrote the hospital letter was simply unaware of that!

Been a day for " Whoopsies " … ?

( Errors , Faye … by those who shouldn’t be making 'em … two other threads today alone. )

The solicitor will know who to go after. I’d go after both! I can relate to your situation. Make sure the request for physical therapy did go in and to the correct people. (My mother’s went to the wrong PT group and nothing happened until a consultant investigated! We also had a problem getting the same carers after mum came out of hospital for the second time. I found it useful to contact the care agency and ask them to talk to the local authority. We had to change the schedule slightly but we did get the care agency back.

Hi , I’m sorry for posting again but I’m just utterly fed up and have no where to turn. I feel like the hospital have completely broken me and I just can’t go on. I just need somewhere to offload- I’m sorry.

As you know at the end of December my fathers arm was broken my patient transport when coming home from dialysis (instead of transporting him on a wheelchair they used a weighing machine, he slipped and his arm was broken when they tried to pick him up). He subsequently had a heart attack and is still an inpatient.

Unfortunately the hospital have refused to hear a complaint saying I need to take it up with their contractor who won’t give me a timeframe for when I can expect a response. The ombudsman won’t take up the case as they say the complaint hasn’t been through the hospital complaints system. Solucitors won’t act until we get the investigation report from the third party- who refuse to give us a timeframe. So we are stuck. Why does it matter? My Dad is going to need extra care to mobilise and perhaps practically speaking most importantly a new bed. The bed he has at the moment isn’t suitable now that he has a broken arm. Dad is paralysed down one side and has a fistula on the other. He also now has a broken arm. To get him to the top of the bed (there is a rail that prevents entrance higher up the bed) the carer and I have to pull him up the bed together. We won’t be able to do this now he has a broken arm. The hospital bed he currently has is ideal but the OT says you can’t get one in the community. The only way to get one is to buy one. We simply don’t have any money. The hospital are proposing to discharge him with a bed that I can’t get him into. I have tried to raise a complaint but the hospital say they won’t take one. I just don’t know what to do iot where to go. I’m so desperate. Sorry.

Faye … our recommendation stands … posted on the 25 February … now 10 days ago.

ONE TO BE BOUNCED OFF YOUR SOLICITOR > , HE’S PAID TO KNOW THE TRUE LEGAL POSITION … any exclusion clauses in contract between the hospital and the private company ??? … that’s for him to sort out , NOT anyone on here !

NO ONE on this forum is a legal / medical expect … nor qualified to give such advice.

In this situation , we are the wrong people to ask.

I would summise that the local Citizens Advice Bureau MAY say the same … but don’t just take my word for that !

And … there’s only one way to find out for sure :

Contact :

Contact us - Citizens Advice

Let us know how things eventually pan out.

It will help others in the future.

All hospitals health trusts have to have a PALS Patient Advice and Liason, normally leaflets around the hospital, or ask at the front desk.
They are there to sort any issues in the hospital, so worth a try.

I don’t know where you are but there is normally an NHS community equipment supplier, they supply anything from sticks, walkers, commodes and hospital beds.
You used to just get the equipment provided but funding has been cut drastically, and it is often charitys that provide the funding now.
Most of our equipment we get off ebay, I got a barely used toilet frame for a fiver, honestly i think it had been just taken out the packet, used once , gave it a very good wash but it looked brand new.

Often there are charitys who might be able to help, one charity raised the money for a young lad to get an electric wheelchair, as he didn’t fit the NHS criteria. This was in the local paper.
Or have you any kind of Rotary club, they might be able to help.
have you any kind of advocacy scheme in your area, they can help fight for you, often useful to have a second person at meetings etc?

the hospital are responsable for a safe discharge, they can only discharge a patient to a suitable and safe environment, home with apropriate equipment and care provided.

Or maybe temorary respite in a care home unttil a suitable support package can be arranged, the hospital are very keen to get patients out as soon as possible but they have a duty of care to give a safe discharge.

Truly sorry you’re going through all this. It sounds like, when your father does come home, he’s going to need a sit to stand lift to transfer him from bed to chair to commode. Also, the hospital OT should order a couple of slide sheets for you or the carers to put under your father and use the sheet to pull him up in the bed.

I’m sorry for coming back to you all again- I just need to offload/would welcome views as to whether I am being unreasonable/if there’s anything I can do . I’m not looking for legal advice.

In short at the end of December my fathers arm was broken whilst he was receiving hospital treatment (dialysis). The patient transport service (a private contractor ) have admitted negligence - they transported him using a weighing machine rather than a wheelchair (amongst other things). My father hasn’t received an apology for what has been a very painful and impactful incident. Unfortunately he is still an inpatient in the hospital. His care package had fallen through (the OTs have said he will now need double up care for the foreseeable future and his previous care agency have had to withdraw as a consequence ).

At 6pm tonight the hospital discharge nurse spoke to me whilst I was with my Dad to say she had spoken to the council and they are planning to discharge him on Monday. I am furious. We were given no warning nor did she have any detail about what the plans for his care are. We had a family meeting last Friday and they had said they were going to do all sorts of things this week (including identify his night timecare needs) and consult us -none of it has happened. For example, despite being in hospital for two months he still hasn’t seen an orthopaedic doctor (he simply seems to have slipped through the net- despite my complaints), they haven’t provided any equipment for us to use at home (they say it’s not possible to provide a hospital bed even though we can’t move him using the existing one but they said they would get him sliding sheets) , they were going to confirm that he could go back to his original dialysis unit, and ,most importantly, they haven’t given us any information about what care he will receive, when or from whom. As I was informed so late in the day there was no one in the hospital or social services to speak to. I am worried that on Monday morning they will simply put him in an ambulance and send him home (he has a key safe box which social services have the combination for). I said I was concerned that the discharge was unsafe but the nurse didn’t seem to listen. Is there anything I can do? I have emailed PALS but unfortunately my experience so far has been that they don’t seem to do anything. I also understand that the hospital have up to six months to respond to any complaints. What can I do? I feel lost and freaked out. We can’t cope on our own.

Oh Faye, poor you, again!
This is not fair, nor right but I don’t know what to suggest other than change the key code so that he can’t be left. That might buy a little time until you get the information you need.
Have you put you concerns about discharge in writing (e-mail will do) to any one?

As mentioned by another poster, the hospital is not allowed to release a patient into an unsafe environment or where adequate support/care is not present. You can try and insist on a care package being in place prior to him returning home. That includes placement of adequate equipment, i.e. a suitable bed and possibly other items like hoist or commode, plus daily carer visits.

Unfortunately this behaviour is common all over the country. Not only is the system “broken” but no official entitities seem capable of communicating with each other and those supposedly responsible take no ownership of such cases. You are lucky if you find an NHS practitioner who takes an interest in the case and actually does some kind of follow-up.

Regarding the broken arm incident I think you should find another solicitor. Accidents happen, but negligence on behalf of the service provider is not acceptable, besides which they (should) have insurance to cover such claims. It’s not just the broken arm itself but other factors caused by the accident of course, and any possible future repercussions .Citizens advice may be able to support you with that.

When nobody is listening it seems the only effective bell to pull on these days is Adult Safeguarding. My family has had to do it more than once for elderly members on both sides of the family, regarding regular poor service in care homes and also discharge from hospital for a cancer patient. A sorry state of affairs when you have to go this far. Adult safeguarding is normally carried out by your local authority/social services.

Good luck!

NB: See the post on the forum:

Ring the hospital today, demand to speak to the duty manager, and make a “formal complaint” about an UNSAFE DISCHARGE. Take the key out of the keysafe. I know this is all horrible, been through a similar thing myself, but they MUST follow the proper procedures.

Has the OT actually inspected your father’s home to see if it’s suitable as is or with additional equipment? Minimally, they need to have done that, for his current condition, and got equipment in place before discharge. If your father will need district nursing, that must be in place prior to discharge - another thing to check!

Until that’s done, the lockbox might just have to be empty…