The NHS and care of the elderly

I had the worry of my mother being rushed to the hospital yet again and this had been going on for about 18 months, monthly at the start, but towards the end it was weekly.   My mother who is 78 had problems regulating her heart and she felt it was dropping, then rushing and it made her feel lightheaded, dizzy and generally very unwell.

The ambulance crew were amazing, and they were lovely, polite and put mum at ease whilst I and my daughter were pacing round worried about mum/nana.   We told the ambulance crew we would follow in the car and arrived before they did and then my heart sank….the ambulance emergency entrance was full of people on beds, in chairs etc and it was just heart-breaking.  I knew that we were in for a long wait.  I had half expected to be dismissed as she had been so many times in the past but put my foot down and told them I was not taking her home till they had looked at all her problems and not be so dismissive.

Mum at this point was crying, and my jaw dropped when the nurse came out and took all her observations with people just mulling round…no privacy.   In the next bed was a man who was constantly talking suicide and asking for help, and he was distraught and on drugs and my poor mother had to listen to this.  I felt so sorry for him and the nurse was so abrupt with him it was shocking as all he wanted was help….thankfully a different nurse came over and took him.

Whilst dealing with mum, there was an old chap in the bed further up on the corridor and I was left to deal with him.  He needed constant care and I spent more time chasing a nurse trying to get him help when I should have been seeing to my mum who was all but ignored on the corridor.

The poor ambulance staff were having to wait and wasting their time when they should have just handed over and gone to help more people, but no…they had to wait.   The corridors were grubby and on previous occasions when mum had an ECG I looked up and saw the ceiling had mould on it….it was awful.  I watched the cleaner come along with a buffer…no cleaning spray but just buffed the floor and the dust from side to side.  Infact they only had one ECG machine as the other was broke, the nurse was constantly interrupted instead of dealing with mum and after 7 interruptions I asked could she please deal with mum and ignore the staff until she is finished.

I pointed out to the nurse that mum’s beat was dropping, and they finally took her to the major observations ward and there finally was the presentation of the letters.  Now these letters….hmmm…. they were letters from the Consultants that mum should have access to  on the NHS but nope…it cost me.  (I don’t object to paying for mum as she is worth it, but the bill just larger and larger).  Within 10 minutes of the first meeting privately (which took one week to get, instead of the 6 months as told to her previously),  the Consultant stated that she needed a pacemaker.  We had been taking mum to the hospital for some 18 months now and nothing…. Infact the last A&E doctor who told mum that she needed one informed her that the only time she would get one is if we found her on the floor, or her stopped!!!!!!

We had to pay for a private ECG to be fitted for a week at nearly £600, plus £150 to read it.  This is on top of the £550 to see the Consultants just for them to treat mum as they should have done.  Infact what was worrying was the Consultant showed me that mum’s heart was stopping for 2.5 seconds during the day, and 7.5 seconds during the night.  It was terrifying.

Thankfully, well thankfully not being the right word but a nurse saw mum’s heart rate drop down to the 17 and that was it….she was staying.   However, the bed was uncomfortable, the bedding was dirty and had dried blood on it and then I never thought that this would happen, but the A&E were struggling for pillows!!!!  Mum was admitted the next morning and her pacemaker fitted but whilst the nursing staff were lovely, the hospital was grubby, the food extremely poor and then the rip off costs of £9.99 a day to watch the TV.

I had by the way booked a private operation which we cancelled but that was going to cost me £4,665 so got that back (but what amazed me was that mum had two consultants secretaries ring to offer mum dates days away – amazing say I will pay and the door opens), but what is worrying is how many elderly people have that fall back of a child with the ability to pay, and how many elderly people are dying due to the lack of care and the lack of monitoring that is being completed by the NHS.  Very poor business and the NHS must work harder to look after its elderly, after all they have paid for their help ten-fold and to ignore them as a statistic is shocking.