Two days to find mam a home
DEVASTATED DAUGHTER CONDEMNS ‘INHUMANE’ TREATMENT
A DEVASTATED daughter has slammed the ‘inhumane’ treatment of the elderly after she was given just ‘one weekend’ to find a suitable home for her 84-year-old mum.
Pamela Smith was told her mum Pat could return home following a three-week stay at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital, due to a fall from her stair-lift.
But when she was reassessed the next day staff later decided that Pat, who has dementia, must be placed in a care home as she was unable to remember instructions to avoid using her stair lift.
Pamela, who provided daily care for her mum before she was admitted to hospital, said: “When social workers called on Friday to say that I had to find a home for my mam by Monday I was mortified and couldn’t string two words together.
“How quick it had to happen felt like I was just dumping her. When you’ve cared for someone for four years and all of a sudden, in one weekend, you have to put her in a home it’s inhumane.”
The 58-year-old, from Wallsend, added: “My mam is 84 and looked after five kids. She’s such a lovely, caring lady and doesn’t deserve to be treated like an inconvenience.”
Pamela claims social workers told her she had to act “speedy” and failure to find accommodation by Monday would result in them finding a care home, which the family would be unable to change.
And when she questioned the ‘almost impossible’ task she was told “some families have to find a home within the hour”.
Pamela, who works as a supermarket assistant, added: “Going into a home was the last thing she wanted, so I know she will be mortified.
“She always said that when she leaves her house in Walker, she wants to leave ‘feet first’ as that’s where my dad died.”
Following a distressing weekend, Pamela and her family managed to secure Pat accommodation at Redesdale Court, in North Shields, after it was recommended by a friend who has a relative living at the home.
And although care home visits are suspended due to coronavirus restrictions, Pat’s family were able to pick a suitable room for her via video call.
They opted for a room overlooking a school with hope it will bring comfort to the great-grandmotherof-four who risks becoming confused by her new surroundings and lack of visitors.
But Pamela was met with further heartbreak when Pat was assisted into the home by ambulance staff on
Tuesday and felt unable to say goodbye to her beloved mum.
She added: “I went to the home to wave at her as she was going in and I asked the ambulance driver to pat her on the shoulder so she could see us waving.
“He replied ‘I just want to get her in, it’s cold’ and he wouldn’t even let her wave at us.
“The whole situation has been awful and I don’t even know when, or if, I will get to see my mam again.”
A spokesperson for Newcastle City Council said: “The hospital staff and social work team worked with the family whilst Mrs Smith was in hospital to support with her discharge arrangements.
“The original plan was for Mrs Smith to go home but further assessment indicated this would not be safe, as her needs had changed.
“The social worker spoke to the family about the need to find a temporary arrangement and there was some urgency for this due to the new discharge guidance.
“Since March 2020 and the onset of the Covid pandemic, National policy around hospital discharges has changed, and new guidance was issued in September 2020 with an expectation that when a patient is ready to leave hospital this must be arranged as soon as possible.
“This includes people who require discharge into a care home on a temporary basis. In some cases, the guidance suggests this could be within an hour, however this was not the case for Mrs. Smith.”
They added: “Once out of hospital we work with the person and their family to understand their long term needs. For all people discharged from hospital into a care home we would try and get people back to their own homes if possible.
“If this is not possible and a care home is required in the longer term, the person and their family can take time to choose a permanent care home.
“All of this has been designed nationally to help reduce the pressures on the hospital system. We always try to work compassionately with patients and their families throughout these processes.”