Wednesday, 20th March, 2024

[Day 1465]

Well, what a stressful day it has been today for reasons that will be explained shortly. I thought that today was going to be a ‘long’ day and how right I was. I had slept reasonably well and popped into Waitrose to treat myself to a coffee and a pastry before I got to the hospital at shortly before the approved opening hours for visitors at 10.00am on the ward. Meg and I had not been long reunited with each so to speak when we were greeted with the excellent news that we were to be discharged today in fact immediately, once the necessary bureaucratic procedures for discharge had been complied with. So I got Meg dressed and then all of her goods packed away and we were trundled off to the discharge lounge where we were treated to a coffee and we knew there would typically a wait whilst medications were prepared and the discharge note signed off by a doctor. Then the bombshell struck. The sister from the ward came along to us to explain that discharge was not possible because Social Services had not agreed the care package necessary so we would have to stay in the hospital until they did. I did not have the number for Social Services on my phone bit so I phoned the manager of the Care agency to ask him to liaise with social services and to work out what was going wrong. I tried to get in touch with the hospital social worker who came along, apologetically, to inform us how things worked. It seems that once we have entered the hospital the existing ‘care’ package becomes voided and a brand new has to be put in place and then agreed before the hospital would be happy to discharge, But then we have a third player which is the hospital ‘Reablement’ team which organises the immediate care needed in the week or so after discharge but they would not act until they had a report from the hospital occupational therapy team. Now it gets even murkier. The sister on the ward explained that was no reason why the occupational therapy assessment could, and indeed should, be carried in one’s own home so that the exact package of kit needed could be assessed. But then the hospital social worker told us that the ward sister and management had been misinformed and the protocols stated quite clearly that the occupational therapy assessment had to be made in hospital and before discharge. She then informed me that she thought that the sister in charge of the ward did not understand the protocols and should not have led me to believe that we could have discharge followed by occupational therapy assessment and not the other way around. I then told the hospital social worker that the previous local authority social worker (who has since passed on our case to someone who I have not met but us just a name) should not have led to to believe that an enhanced care package would be available even though we were making the necessary monthly contributions. I pointed out that we already had a package of care in place for the mornings and ‘all’ that we needed was probably one care worker in the evening to help to get Meg to bed. Then I was told that this social worker should not have led us to believe that we could have more resources within the current financial envelope and that ‘she should not have given you that impression’ So we are left with the situation in which two groups of professionals have said that cognate professionals were not following the correct procedures. So Meg and I trundled back to the ward awaiting an ‘immediate’ call to the occupational therapy team to come and assess us so that we could be be discharged. We were then told that although they visited the ward daily, they had no time to make an assessment of Meg today, When I protested that if the occupational therapy team had visited the ward that day, was it before 10.00am when I arrived and I was told that they might have made an assessment without seeing me by just looking at the paperwork (which sounded fishy to me) Finally, the news cane through from the ward sister that the OT team would not be visiting today so it was at least one more night in hospital and perhaps even more.

So Meg and I had a delicious lunch (or at least Meg did and I stole various bits of it to keep body and soul together) but I have to say that Meg became increasingly agitated and distressed as the (long) afternoon wore on. I tried every strategy I could think of from loo visits (which is quite a procedure with a device called a ‘Sarah Stedy’), to heavy blankets to examining photos on the iPad to reading parts of her books to her to, to listening to some music tracks But none of these worked. Eventually tea at 5.30 came as a blessed relief and after a somewhat quieter spell eventually one of the nurses and I got Meg undressed, washed and ready for bed in a fairly quiescent frame of mind and fairly sleepy before I left at about 8.45. The same nurse told me that after I left at he same time Meg was quite agitated last night and was asking for me for at least half an hour but eventually a degree of exhaustion took over. So I wonder what tomorrow will bring?