NHS patients in England are being sent home from hospital afraid and with little support, an ombudsman report reveals.
The independent arbitrator investigated 211 such complaints in a year.
Among them is the case of a 80-year-old woman, repeatedly sent home in a confused state to an empty house, only to be readmitted to hospital when neighbours raised the alarm.
The NHS says the findings will be taken seriously and improvement is under way.
The report shows that some of the most vulnerable patients, including frail and elderly people, are enduring harrowing ordeals when they leave hospital.
And that poor planning, co-ordination and communication between hospital staff and between health and social care services are failing patients, compromising their safety and dignity.
One patient, a woman in her late 90s, died in her granddaughter’s arms shortly after being sent home from hospital in an ambulance, without a proper examination.
And a hospital transferred a distressed elderly woman to a nursing home in “a dishevelled state” with a tube (cannula) still in her arm.
One complaint to the ombudsman was from a family whose mother had been left in her home with no food, drink or bedding, unable to care for herself or get to the toilet.
Another was from a daughter whose frail mother, Pam, spent months in and out of hospital before her death.
Pam, born Alma Waller, was 80 when she died. In the months leading up to her death in 2012, she was sent home from hospital several times.
She lived alone and had Parkinson’s disease and dementia. She was frail and unstable on her feet.
After initially being admitted to hospital following a fall, she was discharged and readmitted three times over a three-month period.
Her daughter, Angela Little, from Stevenage, says she still has nightmares about the poor care her …read more
Source:: BBC UK