Monday, October 12, 2009

General Hospital & Major Cock-up

I have bored memories as a young child of having to sit through General Hospital because my mother used to enjoy watching it. That and Crown Court were the bane of the afternoons in my early years. I hated them but I do recall being faintly impressed with the dynamic efficiency of the hospital as represented on television. And that impression stayed with me for a long time. I long thought that hospitals were models of precision timing and perfectly coordinated activity.

It’s so disappointing as an adult to realize that like most things in the UK they actually run like two badly oiled bricks.

My granddad has been in the local hospital for most of the summer. He had a fall. Got a chest infection and a water infection. One thing after another and it seemed unlikely he’d ever come out again.

But coming out he is. This Tuesday after lunch apparently despite being unable to walk and therefore unable to care for himself.

He does however have all his marbles and has exercised his right to be sent home. Although some of the family are against this and would rather see him shoehorned into the nearest nursing home I’m of the opinion that as an adult he has a right to make his own decisions and die where he likes. And let’s be honest; that is what this is really about. Thankfully the law is with me on this. As he is fully compos mentis it is his decision and nobody else’s.

Getting him home however is proving to be a nightmare and this is where the badly oiled bricks come into it. I was plagued by phone calls all day Friday (which marred Tom’s 2nd birthday a little). First he was being sent home Wednesday. Then Monday. Then finally Tuesday after lunch. A care package was going to be put into place. Phew – very glad to hear that. 2 care workers 4 times a day will visit him. But before all this can occur he needs to have a hospital bed installed downstairs and a key safe put into the front porch so the care workers can gain access to him as and when.

Could I let them into the house to do all this?

Yes. No problem in theory.

Except that Saturday – the day when all this was supposed to occur – came and went with no sign of the bed arriving and Age Concern who handle the key safe side of things being shut all day.

It’s now Monday and I’m at work and cannot now just drop everything at an hour’s notice (the best the hospital can give me regarding the bed installation) to disappear for God knows how long while they shove a bed into my granddad’s dining room. And then possibly have to make a second journey to the house to meet with the Age Concern handyman (who also hasn’t got back to me yet) to get the key safe installed... because to coordinate the two together into one trip is, well, like trying to drive two badly oiled bricks up a hill.

It really feels like the hospital’s left arm doesn’t know what its right arm is doing... which isn’t what you want from a place whose primary function is to coordinate care...

*Sigh*

Thank God my granddad hasn’t been booked in for a tonsillectomy and an endoscopy... or there might be some very unusual organs in a pickle jar by now.


23 comments:

Dr.Ema Nymton said...

You think with all the 'supposedly' excessive middle management refered to by tories and labour (usually when they are refering to some forthcoming healthcare cuts) that organization would be more than well catered for.Yet despite all the chiefs failure.If this excessive Bureaucracy truly exists what the hell do they do all day?

Steve said...

Dr Ema: I guess attempting any kind of reorganizing is a nightmare. I do think the hospital staff themselves should be the ones calling the shots and not some up-his-own-arse bureaucrat in Central Government. Anyway, the cock-ups in my own little episode have come from external agencies not liaising properly with the hospital - the hospital staff to be fair to them have been lovely. Communication seems to be the source of the problem. Too much of it on one hand and not enough on the other.

The Sagittarian said...

Would it make you feel any better to know that you have probably described the global situation regarding any hospital?
I am lucky in that my employer is fairly relaxed about family matters, they know that if Mama ain't happy then nobody happy! (and bugger all gets done) I am super lucky that so far my mother keeps excellent health and is, like your Grand-dad, very independent and one of those 'stiff upper lip, we can get thru this no problem' types.
Good luck!

Steve said...

Amanda: thank you. Am feeling a little better about it all now. The bed has been installed and the delivery guy was kind enough to pick me up from work and then drop me back - obviously making up for the cock-up on Saturday. Plus the key safe is due to be installed Wednesday lunch time and the hospital have put back my grandfather's "release" until after then. Things are looking brighter.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Poor you Steve!

You'd have thought where there are so many complications already they could at least get the simple bit right!

All the best. I hope it doesn't entirely fall to you to sort this out and that the rest of the family are chipping in (bar young Tom of course who can be excused on the grounds he is only two).

Laura x

Clippy Mat said...

ugh. I feel for you.
and poor Grandda.
he's lucky he's got you tho'.
:-)

Steve said...

Laura: my parents live in Sheffield so can't really do a lot from there except berate the powers that be over the phone! Things seem to be slowly sorting themselves out though - just the key safe to be installed now and finally have an appointment for that!

Clippy Mat: To be honest I think my granddad is largely unaware of what is going on. He's quite content to lie in bed and let the nurses run round after him. Like I said, "compos mentis"!

Gina said...

Oh dear! Glad to read in the comments though that it is now coming together.

It seems to me that it is hard to coordinate anything that involves people leaving their zone and delivering or coming to your house. How complicated can it be?

I hope your grandad manages to cope OK with the new arrangements and that he continues to enjoy living independently.

Is he appreciative of your efforts on his behalf?

Steve said...

Gina: to be honest I'm not sure how appreciative he is. He's very much closing himself off and leaving the outside world behind. He just wants to stay in bed and sleep all day - something that, given his age, won't be good for his health. Whenever I've visited him in hospital he's always sent me away after 1o minutes so he can sleep - no joke when getting there and back can eat up a couple of hours of an afternoon. However, he can't help how he is. He just wants to die and can no longer be bothered so much with the living.

missbehaving said...

Glad to hear Granddad is coming home. Sad that these things are always marred by a lack of coordination, Lucky for Granddad he has you there sorting stuff out for him.
I might put you down as my next of kin. ;)

Miss behaving said...

Glad to hear Granddad is coming home, if that's where he chooses to be and how lucky for him that he has you to do all the stuff for him.
Too bad the so called 'care' system doesn't have much clue what it's doing, sadly that is probably to do with lack of staff and resources and the actual people working within the system, care a great deal!!
Might put you down as my next of kin of that's okay;)

A Write Blog said...

Isn't this just a symptom of the modern world; full of check-lists and supervisors ticking off boxes to make sure everyone conforms to rulse yet no-one just getting on and doing a job.

He'll be a lot better at home. He'll keep his marbles with him for longer that's for sure.

I like the expression; 'badly oiled bricks'

Nota Bene said...

Home's the best place for sure...it's a shame that after all that money has been poured into the health service, efficiency hasn't got any better

French Fancy said...

Oh dear, none of this sounds very good. Your poor grandad - he must be wondering when he will be taken home, you are wondering whether to get stuck into some project in case the phone goes to call you away and nobody really knows what is going on.

I hope it gets sorted very soon though - you'll not be able to relax until it is out of the way really.

Congrats to little tom though - the happiest bit of the post :)

Steve said...

MissBehaving: I feel very honoured and trust that you will also remember me in your will...! ;-)

AWB: I feel a little more ambivalent I must admit. It's right that he should be at home but I think his health will continue to deteriorate. He just wants to stay in bed, sleep and eventually slip away... and of course the less he does for himself the more likely that is to come about.

Nota Bene: true - I suspect the money hasn't always gone to the right people...!

FF: all being well it'll all be sorted by Wednesday lunch time. I'm meeting a rep from Age Concern at the house to get the key safe installed. After that everything is ready for his return! And Tom had a great day - thank you!

Owen said...

At least he has some sort of health care... were he in the USA, (the most advanced country on Earth according to them, right?) he would have a good chance of belonging to the millions of people with no health insurance so no hospital care if they get sick, or should they be cared for, the threat of looming bankruptcy once the hospital bills are tallied... may he count his blessings, even if he'd rather be watching the nurses when not napping...

Gypsy said...

Well I see in the comments that the arrangements have finally been sorted out at least.


Poor old Grandad. He just wants to be home where he feels most comfortable. Sounds like the dear old love has had a torrid time of it lately. Good for you for being such a supportive grandson. Sadly a lot of elderly folk don't even have that in their twilight hours.


Despite the sad content I did have to smile at that last paragraph.


PS In reference to your comment on my blog, you weren't too innocent. I was talking about my legs.

Suburbia said...

So did he make it home today?

Sounds very stressful, having to organise it all. Well done for standing up for what he wants, instead of the easy option though. :)

Steve said...

Owen: if macular degeneration hadn't robbed him of 90% of his eyesight I'm sure he'd be amusing himself with a good bout of oggling... instead he hasn't even got that. Quite depressing really.

Gypsy: regarding your legs... glad to hear that. I'd hate to think I was strting to miss innuendoes. That would just take all the fun out of life! ;-)

Suburbia: nope, the hospital have rearranged his release for tomorrow afternoon at the earliest, possibly Thursday so that's taken some of the pressure off.

Selina Kingston said...

Glad it came together in the end but how frustrating! At least it's all ready for when he does come home even though the hospital are holding on to him.
By the way, I could have become a highly respected doctor or top barrister from the knowledge I gleaned from being made to watch General Hospital and Crown Court so don't knock it!!

Steve said...

Selina: I wish I'd paid more attention to Buck Rogers In The 21st Century now - I always wanted to be able to fly the space shuttle...! ;-)

-eve- said...

LOL. Yes, everything is a mess! Like me, I do discharges - but after I've signed the form, there still seem to be so many steps one needs to go through til one finally gets home ;-) And the nurses have no sense at all - they rush the non-urgent discharges, while ignoring the patient whose flight home is in 2 hours...

Steve said...

Eve: I can well believe it. And things here are still messed up. The key safe has not been installed because the organization that were meant to do it messed up the list of jobs their handyman was supposed to do today. Might be tomorrow now. Or next week. They don't seem to be able to give me any concrete information. It's ridiculous!