This is my grandmother. She is 92 years old and lives on her own, in her own home in Eastbourne.
12 years ago, she had a major stroke which left her unable to articulate words. She can understand what a person is saying, so long as they take the time to speak clearly and to her face. She has one hearing aid to help her hear. She has to really concentrate to be able to say one fully comprehensible sentance.It tires her out, but she tries.
For the passed several years, she has had careworkers coming to her home three times a day to make sure she is ok and to provide conversation. Tuesday 14th April, one of her careworkers found her on the floor and unable to move. She was taken in an ambulance to the Conquest Hospital in Eastbourne.
She was assessed and my mother was called to be told what had happened. After driving to see my grandmother, the hospital said that she had zero broken bones and could walk 3 steps, heavily assisted. At this stage, she was discharged by ambulance back to her home. Later that day, the careworkers and my mother realised my grandmother couldn't move at all, without being helped by my mother and the careworker. At this stage, my mother was hunting for wheelchairs to help. No local doctor or hospital could provide a wheelchair. Out of desperation, my mother went to the local Tesco in Hailsham who were more than happy for her to borrow a wheelchair for a night.
Thursday 16th April, my grandmother was re-admitted to hospital (this time Eastbourne District General Hospital) by ambulance after a medical assessment in her home. After getting down there myself, the emergency doctor told my mother and me that my grandmother had two fractures in her pelvis, at the top and bottom on her left-side. After asking how this hadn't been spotted before, we found out it was already in my grandmother's doctor notes.
Conquest Hospital had lied to us.
Regardless, we carried on. My grandmother was admitted properly into the CDU for full assessment. We were promised:
1. Full care for at least 4 days
2. Physiotherapy to help mobilise her (they can't put a cast on a pelvis/hip!)
Feeling much better about the situation, my mum and I went home. We were told to call the next day at 11:00 to find out how she was doing.
My mother called at 11:00 to find out what was going on. One of the consultants had deemed her fit to return home as she was only in for "pain relief". No regard for the breaks in her bones. Her care team stated they would not be able to look after her if she wasn't mostly mobile - which she wasn't and still isn't.
This was the second fight to get her the care she was promised. We succeeded. She was moved to a ward.
Saturday 18th my parents went to see my grandmother in care and to ensure she was being looked after. She had been given a large dose of morphine to help with the pain, but had made her non-responsive. The drug to reverse this affect was administered, but left her paranoid and agitated.
Sunday 19th, I went down with my mother after being told by the hospital that they'd had to restrain my grandmother as she'd torn out her catheter and cannula, and was being aggressive to staff. Apparently "blood and fluids were going everywhere", which was not re-assuring to hear at all. When we got there, mamma had already written a blurb about my grandmother, to show what kind of person she was. As I went to see my grandmother, mamma spoke to the duty nurse.
When I saw her, my grandmother smiled and opened her arms for a hug. She can be grumpy, she can be sad, but the majority of the time she is happy and amiable. Nothing like the description we'd been provided by the hospital. She took her drugs, had her cannula put back in. We set up her TV for her and got her settled. The staff seemed OK with her and happy. My grandmother seemed happy.
Today, we found out she won't be getting the physiotherapy she'd been promised, because we, as a family, had made plans for when the hospital discharged her. We had planned for my grandmother to go into a temporary home to receive additional physiotherapy once the hospital discharged her.
This was an additional service we'd tried to setup for when the hospital were ready to discharge. Not a separate service. She isn't fit to move yet, but the hospital won't provide the care they promised to enable her to move.
The NHS is failing my grandmother and penalising her because we were trying to prepare and help her.
We - anyone - shouldn't have to fight for their family to receive the care they have been promised. They certainly shouldn't have their family turned away with lies about their condition. My grandmother now has an infection at the fracture site, which could have gone unnoticed if we hadn't fought for her to go back into hospital.
Some elderley people do not have the support of a family to fight for them. They have paid their dues, and we repay them with sub-service or a complete lack of service or care.