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To consider making a complaint to the hospital

10 replies

Pantsonrabbit · 16/09/2015 15:08

My dad is 80 and has Alzheimer's. He ended up in hospital due to increased confusion, this was on the Thursday, the hospital kept him in for observation, I rang the ward at around seven and was told he hadn't been seen by the ward doctor at that time, fine. Friday morning I get a call saying he has gone missing from the hospital! The police were called and he was found almost two miles away. Within half an hour of him being found I got another call saying they wanted to send him home and that were arranging for a team of carers to start going that night. He lives with my mum who was diagnosed with dementia earlier this year. I'm struggling with this to be honest as I really think that
A. If you have a confused patient in your care they shouldn't have just been able to walk out of the ward
I fully understand that all nursing staff are under a high amount of pressure but this is a vulnerable person who has just walked out.
B the patient should not have been sent out of hospital within hours of having gone missing as he was in there due to increased confusion in the first place!
I know there isn't a magic wand to make him better but other than blood and urine tests nothing medically was done so nothing was going to change in his state of mind or behaviour
Am I unreasonable to complain? I
When I took him to A&E at the same hospital after a fall he was treated wonderfully and after I phoned Pals to say how well he had been cared for, which they were really pleased about as they said it's usually the opposite.

OP posts:

Rosa · 16/09/2015 15:11

No you are not . We all know they are under stress but with your complaint it could help them to offer better services for the future.


Pantsonrabbit · 16/09/2015 15:15

Thanks Rosa. That's what I was thinking. I know some people live to complain and would demand an apology. I'd said to the nurse who rang to say he was missing that I didn't envy her having to make that call. It can't be easy caring for people like dad but I do think he deserved better.

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SquinkiesRule · 16/09/2015 16:22

The trouble is normal wards aren't set up to look after patients with dementia who can wander off.
Unless we turn everyone of them into a locked facility or have the staff available to do one to one care then patients can walk away at any time.
Even as a dementia patient is wandering off, we can't man handle them into staying, or sitting, or going to bed. All we can do is try to persuade them to stay. It's very distressing for everyone when someone wanders off, including the patient and staff.
We do have to file a report which is more like a complaint when this happens, it goes to everyone up the chain in the hospital.


CMOTDibbler · 16/09/2015 16:34

My mum has dementia, and has had many, many admissions to hospital. There is only one ward in their huge hospital which is suitable for people with dementia, and its a bit of a lottery as to how long it takes for her to get in there - it is a locked ward, and they are wonderful there.
But on the emergency admissions/medical assessment ward, they absolutely couldn't watch someone who wanders as it is incredibly busy there.
Also, once they have done blood, urine tests, maybe a chest x-ray then thats really it for urgent reasons for increased confusion (we've been through this cycle a lot), and they are very keen to get people home where their confusion will be less than in hospital, and get them away from all the hospital bugs.


ALittleFaith · 16/09/2015 16:55

I work on an elderly ward and we have a locked (electronic door). Still had a patient abscond recently!

Yes I think you should complain. It sounds like he was rushed out. Your best bet would be to contact the PALS team at the hospital about the complaint and they will guide you about who to contact.


WanderingLily2 · 16/09/2015 17:04

Any time I think the standard of care has fallen short of reasonable (and I don't count chronic under-staffing as reasonable), I always complain in writing. If you don't complain, how do they become aware of what needs looking at? I make it clear at the start of the letter that I am not after compensation or heads on platters; I only want them to be aware of what happened and the consequences to the patient.
In one case a complaint about the treatment of my d-i-l when she miscarried, joined with many similar ones, resulted in a serious shake-up and improvement of procedures.
As long as managers don't hear complaints, they congratulate themselves on doing a marvellous jobs while the poor overworked drones on the front line flog themselves to death.


Pantsonrabbit · 16/09/2015 19:42

Thanks for your replies. I will contact the hospital. Dad is now being assessed by community mental health to see if he needs to go back to hospital if not he is going into respite tomorrow. he is no less confused now than before he went to hospital and has gone missing from home twice since he was discharged less than two weeks ago.

OP posts:

CrohnicallyAspie · 16/09/2015 20:34

Whenever I've been in hospital or visited someone in hospital recently it's been a locked ward, buzz to get in or out. That's in 3 different hospitals I've been to. I thought it was standard these days?

As for being unable to manhandle a dementia patient, surely their next of kin should be informed immediately they leave the ward, so they're not actually missing at that point.


ALittleFaith · 16/09/2015 20:48

Locked wards aren't always a given. We only got ours a few months ago after years of asking!

Given that your Dad is still confused and going off, he definitely needs a full assessment Pants. I hope he gets the help he needs.


Pantsonrabbit · 16/09/2015 22:36

Thanks again for the replies. From what the nurse who phoned me to say dad was missing told me, he was sat on his bed dressed and said he was waiting to be collected by mum. The nurse said he should have breakfast and he was next seen wandering round the ward so was told to go and wait by his bed. She then saw him by the nurses station but was busy and when she next looked he was gone. No one had seen him leave as he was found nearly two miles away and didn't have any money he must have been gone for sometime. We finally seem to be getting some help now and not least because of dads brilliant GP who has called social services and mental health and gone to see dad out of hours to try and help

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