90-year-old woman “jailed in hospital for a month” due to understaffing

A 90-year-old woman was left in hospital for over a month due to a shortage of staff in social services, and even after she was released her nightmare continued, her frustrated family says.

Nurses at Salford Royal Hospital, where she had been since October 28, believed the house was the best place for the elderly woman, according to her family.

But hospital staff and loved ones were crippled by the inability of social care providers to give Salford’s patient the support she needed to leave the ward.

READ MORE:The reasons so many ‘medically fit for discharge’ are still in hospital beds

The 90-year-old suffered from a region-wide concern for hospitals, admitted by Greater Manchester health officials last week.

People “medically fit for discharge” are forced to wait in their hospital beds.

They cannot be fired for a number of reasons, the executives said, including:

  • Impact of Covid means some patients’ condition has become more serious and they need longer recovery time in hospital
  • Increase in the number of patients with complex needs requiring more support after discharge
  • Workforce capacity / discharge capacity (seniority level is required to confidently and safely offload patients)
  • Choice of patient, caregiver and family.

But doctors also report that another major factor preventing people from being fired is the staffing crisis within social services.

Shortages in nursing homes leave no place for patients to go safely once they are well enough to leave, and the small staff working in the community cannot cope with the number of patients with Need help at home.

The inability to get patients out is part of a picture of overcrowding in area hospitals, where beds are “over 90% full.”



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For the elderly widow of Salford, whose Manchester Evening News does not appoint for privacy, blockages cause extreme distress.

She used to have three visits a day from social workers when she was at home, but that offer was quickly canceled days after her last admission to Royal Salford Hospital, one of her two said. girls.

“My mother is blind and deaf, she is at risk of falling and therefore needs help around the house. She has been hospitalized several times, usually for falls. During one of her stays, she caught the Covid-19 and had to stay in the hospital.

“On October 28, she was admitted again for what was thought to be a mini-stroke. About four days later she was ready to go out, but 48 hours after entering Salford Royal her treatment schedule had been halted.

“Even the nurses say it doesn’t do her any good to be there, and the doctors tell us the best place for her is her own surroundings.

“Whenever she is stressed, she suffers from delirium. She is so scared to go to the hospital that admissions have triggered her again.



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In Salford, the number of people whose discharge is delayed increased by 42%.

“We are monitoring this number of patients on a daily basis and have been doing so for quite some time since last winter,” said chief accountant Steven Dixon at a meeting of the Salford Clinical Commissioning Group board at the end of November.

“The number of patients waiting to be discharged from the hospital, and where there are delays, has started to increase, probably from July and August.

“There will always be people waiting in a hospital bed to get out, that’s normal. So as soon as a person is medically fit to leave the hospital, they appear on a list and are sent back, hopefully, to their own home or to another part of the community.

“What’s important is how long people are in a hospital bed after they’re ready to go home.

“There are more delays in discharges from hospitals. Normally, usually at Salford Royal, there would be around 120 people in a hospital bed ready to go out that day.

“That’s the normal number for Salford Royal.

“Right now the daily numbers are 160, 170. So there are around 40 to 50 people experiencing more delays than we expected and would like.”



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The entire hospital and social system is under so much strain, the officer says, that there are a multitude of reasons for the delays, including the lack of home care workers who would help patients like this widow of 90. years.

“These patients are waiting to be referred to a number of facilities,” said Dixon.

“Most of them will be returned to their own homes – these are the easiest referrals to arrange as these people don’t necessarily need legal support or support from any other part of the system. These patients are discharged the same day.

“On the other hand, there are patients who are waiting to be sent back to another bed, they may have complex physical needs – they may need to be sent back to a spinal unit, kidney unit or bed. mental health. These numbers are relatively low.



Royal Salford Hospital has seen the number of patients awaiting discharge increase by almost 50%

“Where we see an increase in release times are people who are waiting to be returned to their own homes, but they need support around them. Either home care or other statutory bodies.

“It gets more complicated because it relates to the pressures that we see in the system right now. Not only in social care, but this problem is linked to social care and the shortage of manpower in home care.

“It is causing us operational difficulties in trying to get home help for some of our people who are waiting to be released.”

Earlier this week, the family of one of those 170 patients were in turmoil as they anxiously waited each day to see if their beloved mother was coming home. All they want is to “put her at ease” in her later years.

“There just aren’t any care packages available,” the 90-year-old patient’s daughter continued. “The healthcare system seems to have collapsed.

“There are very mixed messages. Yesterday a doctor told us she could go out on Friday. The day before, they told us it could take weeks.

“I’ll believe it when I see it.” It is as if we are banging our heads against a brick wall. It is incredibly frustrating.

“My sister has become her primary caregiver, she used to be allowed two visits a day, but this has now been reduced to one.

“My mom feels like she’s being punished, she picks on my sister because she thinks we don’t want her to come home. She doesn’t understand why she is not allowed to go home, she feels like she is in jail.



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The patient’s son-in-law added: “She cannot leave the hospital until a package of care is in place, but private providers who have contracts with the hospital say they are running out. of staff.

“I don’t blame the doctors and nurses, I blame the appalling welfare system.

“She’s stuck in the hospital and she doesn’t have to be. She doesn’t have a lot of money, but is happy to pay what she can for her treatment to get out of the hospital.

“She wants to go home and blocks the bed of someone who really needs it.”

“Enough is enough, realistically she doesn’t have much time left, it would be nice if we could make her feel comfortable at home.” This is what she deserves. But it’s like they’re just waiting for her to die.

The Manchester Evening News approached the Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Salford Royal, on Tuesday evening, November 3, for a response to the 90-year-old’s plight.

This morning, Friday, December 3, the trust responded by saying the patient has now been discharged.

A spokesperson for Salford Royal said: ‘Due to patient confidentiality, we cannot go into details of [the patient’s] care.

“[The patient] was discharged from hospital with the appropriate support from an outpatient provider. We wish him a good recovery.

“We are in contact with [the patient’s] family and were assured of continued support from our services, including district nursing. “

But the nightmare has continued since the patient was discharged, her family say, and “could leave her facing another hospital stay.”

The elderly woman was discharged from hospital Thursday evening with a care package of two visits from staff at a private care company – one in the morning and one at lunchtime.

Friday, a caregiver did not arrive until “at the end of the morning, between 10:30 am and 11:00 am”, specifies the family.

One of the 90 year old girls was there to meet the caregiver for the first time, only then had to get her mother out of bed, check in and dress for the day herself, as the caregiver did not arrive ” for hours ” .

When the caregiver came, it was discovered that the patient may have a ‘bladder infection’ and ‘had been fitted with an incorrect / improperly fitted catheter’.

“She was catheterized before leaving the hospital, it didn’t work and she lay in a wet bed until 9 a.m. when her other daughter came to see her and waited for the caregiver to come. “, explained the son. in law.

“Is it the morning tour or lunch time, or is someone trying to combine them to save time?”

“The assistant didn’t come and that caused a lot of distress. She needs some continuity in her life – you can’t leave someone in bed until the middle of the day, without checking if something happened overnight.

“Now she has a bladder infection which is likely to give her more delirium. For her to be sent home with an infection and what we’re being told is the wrong type of catheter is just basic, looks like she was rushed out.

“It has been hell for her. And a lot of people will be in the same situation. We fear that she will die at the hands of the NHS.”

The trust said, “We are pleased that the caregiver and their family have agreed on the pattern and times for future visits. We will contact his family to provide them with clarification and reassure them about the issues they have raised regarding the catheter.

Have you been caught up in the NHS and social services crisis? Email our health reporter at [email protected]

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