Potential unsafe discharge from hospital

Hi all,

MIL has been in hospital for nearly a week due to “aspiration pneumonia”. Had a call yesterday to say she was being discharged this afternoon and would be home around 2pm … went down and sat there waiting and she finally turned up by ambulance at 5pm. The guys brought her in, dumped her in bed (she is hoisted but they are not trained, so managed to slide her in).

MIL full of laughs with the ambo crew, chatting away and seemed fine. They did their thing and left … she then said “I have been in hospital, did you know?” … Yes were were here in the middle of the night calling 999 for you and visited twice (she can’t remember) … then went on “they have fixed me right up, so I need to see how far I can walk” … she hasn’t been able to weight bear for around 2 years and before that she could only stand and not actually walk since 2017. Then it was “I will need a wee in a minute, so need to get to the toilet” … No Mum, you need to stay there until your carers come later, to get you up, toilet you and put you to bed for the night (she is padded 24/7) … “Oh we’ll see about that” came the reply “besides, how will I get upstairs at bedtime then” … she lives in a bungalow and was already in bed!

So we are now sat at home (30 mins away) waiting for a lifeline call … Hubby said if they ring, we will refuse to go, she should never have been sent home and if she tries to get out of bed and ends up on the floor for the rest of the night, that is down to the Hospital sending her home, not us … great if he can live with this, but I do wonder if he will feel the same if it actually happens and she comes to some harm.

I did ask for an MC assessment whilst she was in there, but this seems not to have happened, but believe me, I will be on the GP next week to get a review. I get that the NHS is struggling, but they have now ticked a few boxes, sent a vulnerable, elderly and confused lady home in less than ideal circumstances, but got a bed free in time for the weekend …

This is so wrong Witch-hazel but sadly so common. Could you write to the hospital? Write to your MP? PALS? It is obviously a Dangerous Discharge and your MIL sounds mega confused and should not be at home alone. I totally ‘get’ where you are coming from if she contacts you - it will be you and your husband in a horrific position. It definitely sounds as if she will be taken back in very soon but what a huge worry in the meantime for you.

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Witch Hazel, that’s dreadful. Tomorrow morning, ring the hospital and complain about an “unsafe discharge”. Did they assess your ability to continue caring, before she came home? Check she had all the aids she needed? Make sure there was any food in the house?

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Sound like the bed managers are behind this one, see she is doing OK, so send home one bed more for someone. No talk with the staff or with family. If she goes in again, corner the ward sister or the doctor and give it to them straight of the situation, if they don’t believe you, get her carers who come in and get them to put a report in but also get a free fire check down for her as they will make a note if they get a call to her address. Good luck.

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@Witch_hazel :people_hugging: :people_hugging: :people_hugging:
Sending some BIG bucketloads of empathy alongside loads of anger on your behalf
Every time I hear this kind of case I realise how we have to FIGHT for the SAFETY of our loved ones, how even if you ask for an MC assessment people don’t listen…
Really feel for you…
You obviously know about what’s needed…just in case this helps: Coming out of hospital | Carers UK
I didn’t know about the pathways etc…my Dad self discharged every time which was a whole other set of issues…
Feel free to vent and shout on here - we hear you and see you

Would it be fair to say that she should be back in hospital…and if so dial 999 and from there, fight for a care place for her? Easier from hospital than from home…Friday nights and weekends are THE WORST times…I hated them…if she had aspiration pneumonia is she still on antibiotics or drug therapy…and based on that is she able to ‘toilet’ ok…pneumonia is hard to shift without drugs and those drugs can be brutal on the tummy!

So sorry @Witch_hazel sending hugs and hope you can manage through the weekend with carers

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Thanks for all replies …

As predicted, things haven’t gone well … Only just said to hubby when we got up this morning that it had been an unexpectedly quiet night … Then my mobile and our landline suddenly rang simultaneously … Carers on one as they had found her on the floor … And lifeline to advise the carers had requested an ambulance. No idea how long she’d been there, but by angle looks like she had tried to get out of bed. Luckily she seems uninjured, but is more confused, asking if her dog is ok (not had one in 40 years) and doesn’t know where she is.

On call GP arrived 2 hrs later, checked her over and rang around to try to find a community bed … Nothing, so she will have to go back in via a&e … That was nearly 3 hours ago and we are still sat here waiting for ambulance.

We have insisted she needs a full assessment this time, before discharging again, and her needs and safety to be home alone must be reviewed. Just hope someone takes notice this time as can see it all happening again …

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Hi @Witch_hazel unbelievable, isn’t it? It’s absolutely obvious this was an unsafe discharge and even the hospital should understand that this time…even so, I think you probably need to complain so that they get it right this time.


Maybe this is the time to consider if mum is EVER going to be fit enough, mentally and physically, to live at home alone? It’s not fair on anyone to keep this admission/discharge/admission “roundabout” going. Of course mum will always want to go “home” but if she doesn’t recognise her own home any more, and is asking after a long dead dog, that suggests that she isn’t. Sadly, her condition is inevitably on a downhill slide. Maybe ask the hospital to have a “Best Interests” meeting after a formal mental capacity assessment?


Yes, Bowlingbun, this is our intention, and our hope … Mum has previously expressed her wish to stay at home and as she has mental capacity, this was granted. I have known her for nearly 40 years … she was always life and soul of the party, loved a get-together, re-union, celebration, sing-song, chin-wag … she was always first in the queue to join in and help organise events and last out of the door at the end of the day.

Now she has a TV she can hardly work (we bought an easy “big button” remote and she even struggles with this now), 4 walls in her sitting room by day, and in her bedroom by night … and nothing else … She had new glasses recently, but optician says she has cataracts, so her vision will never be great. She used to do lovely embroidery, but now her hands won’t let her. She loved her huge garden, but now she cannot even get outside to see it, and its nowhere near the showpiece it used to be. We have looked into day care, clubs and other events she might like, and she either cancels the day before as she doesn’t want to mix with old people, or we can’t find suitable transport as she is wheelchair bound and suitable taxis are few and far between near her. We think she would really benefit from the mental stimulus of having something going on around her … games, entertainment, laughter, just something to give her an interest … she is basically sitting at home waiting to die, when the rest of her days could be so much more rewarding. When she is in hospital, there is life, there are people, there is noise, there is hubbub and she almost comes alive … when she is at home there is NOTHING, other than her carers … choices are one thing, but we are sure she is not making the right ones for her own mental wellbeing … hopefully a “best interests” meeting will help push things along, but until she gets a full capacity review and is deemed unable to make safe choices for herself, this will never happen … :frowning:

If a doctor saw her yesterday and arranged admission, he/she would be able to say how confused she was.

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I’d argue that if she can’t actually recognise her own home, she doesn’t have capacity as she doesn’t have all the facts committed to memory to make a decision - she’s thinking of a home that doesn’t exist.

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Just had a call from the Ambulance Tech that took her in … we mentioned when he left that we didn’t really want her going to A&E as its not really an ideal location for a confused, elderly lady, and it would be so much better to get her onto a ward that might give her better, more appropriate care. He said he would do his best … lovely guy has just called me, to say he has managed to bypass A&E and got her straight onto Medical Assessment Ward … he said when he left with her that she was his last admission tonight, but being a Saturday its hectic and may be a delay when they get there (nothing unusual to have Ambos queued up outside for hours waiting for admission). What a great guy, going the extra mile and making it happen … Thank you Keith, wherever you are :wink:


Wishing you well. Nothing ever seems to change for the better. Similar unsafe discharge to some of my mother’s 5 years ago. Hospital ought to have considered if her care package, if any in place, was adequate prior to discharge. Hope she’ll receive adequate care going forward.