Select Committee on Health Minutes of Evidence



  "My father-in-law is aged 91 and lives alone. He was discharged from hospital despite being in pain and still bleeding. I am his sole carer but I also care for my own mother. I was told that even if I refused to look after him he would be discharged because (a) they wanted the bed, (b) they felt there was nothing more they could do and (c) "of course you must realise how short of money we are".

  "My husband was in hospital very ill, he was paralysed on the right side. I had just come home myself 10 days after having an operation and I was awaiting another. They told me to take him home. I told them the situation and that I needed help. The ward sister was very rude to me and told me that they could not keep him forever. I asked to see the hospital social worker who never contacted me. We were still arguing about when my husband should come home when the ambulance dropped him off. I noticed he was not conscious and I had to get the district nurse who readmitted him immediately to A&E. One week later he died."

  "I was not given any guidance on how to cope with someone being discharged following major surgery and having been in hospital for four months. They wanted him out and that was that!"

  "After my husband came out of hospital again, our usual care assistant came round but she said this time that she was not allowed to get my husband out of bed anymore because of health and safety. I was utterly devastated by this remark. I then got my husband out of bed on my own but was quite worried because he had been in bed for three weeks in hospital and unable to get up because of red tape. After a lot of meetings by social services they agreed to send in two care assistants to give him a wash only. After about five weeks of arguments, they finally agreed to bathe him as well, but I still have to do a lot of lifting. All of this almost gave me a nervous breakdown. When he went in again, he wouldn't dare come out again until everything was arranged."

  "So far, with a disabled child, now 14 years old, parents are expected to just go away and get on with it. Very hard when there are two other children in the family."

  "My husband was not discharged from hospital until I felt I was able to cope at home with help three times a day arranged by social services who have been a great help."

  "We were well prepared for discharge from Charing Cross Hospital. The ward had a social worker who liaised with our local social services and a care assistant was available that evening. Our local services eg district nurse, etc all called in and ensured that we had all we needed."

  "The experience was brilliant. I attended a meeting of nurses, OTs and social services at the hospital where a care plan for my wife's return was agreed, plus home visits. She was not discharged until the complete plan was in place."

  "My hospital has a step home scheme. Each patient is monitored by a team of a doctor, nurse and physiotherapist preparatory to discharge, the home is visited and any aids like grab rails and raising the chair height and whatever is needed. For six weeks a care team came night and morning to dress and undress my partner, and social services have now replaced them. The support was and is wonderful."

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