Bed sores – a pain in the arse

I haven’t posted for sometime. Combination of lack of time and effort but also didn’t have the urge to rant. Well I do now.

Quick background catch up. Roughly three weeks ago mum was getting out of bed, aided by the carer, when she felt unwell. Carer called and by the time I got home from work (thankfully work is very supportive) she had also called 999 as mums breathing was shallow. Couple of minutes later fast response car turned up and the outcome was that mum had an irregular heart rhythm. Off we went to RUH. 

A day spent in A&E followed (portable battery helps keep the phone charged whilst I keep an eye on work emails) resulting in mum being kept in as they wanted to monitor her on new medication to thin the blood. Next day they released her and mum came home and all seemed well. Mum was happy and we thought back to standard routine. Within 1.5 hours, mum had slipped in the bathroom and fractured her hip! Off to RUH again and this time a longer stay whilst they operated and replaced half her hip.

Surgery went well and the surgical team discharged her. This is where the fun starts.

Having Alzheimers, diabetes and a heart condition is not a good combination (if there such a thing), especially in a strange environment. I realise that hospitals are under a lot of pressure and budgets are being cut etc but I also understand the call for better management to help ensure that the budget is spent effectively. I am not going to get into the politics of this, I have friends and family in the NHS but I can see with my own eyes things that are inefficient.

My biggest observation is a lack of joined up care, with poor or no information between teams and so time and effort is wasted on finding facts. Worse when facts are wrong and assumptions made about a patients needs.

Mum was eventually transferred to a nursing home in Chippenham and again lack of quality information between the various teams involved. When visiting mum was lethargic and unresponsive. The response from the care team was she had hyperdelerium (had to look it up). However when we asked what her sugar levels were we found they hadn’t taken them and when they did the level was 2.8. This is very low and previously has resulted in a trip to RUH for hypoglycemia. So as they ran around trying to find a chocolate biscuit etc we went and bought some lucazade and managed to get her sugar levels back up.

Over the next week we continued to deal with care issues. The team mentioned that mum needed help eating, well when shes lying horizontally in bed, she wont be able to feed herself. “Shes not very mobile” and yet we managed to get her up and walking with a frame on her own with not that much effort.

The most recent issue is she now has a bed sore, again when you leave her in bed for hours on end through the day, or she goes to bed at 7pm and stays there for 14+ hours what do they expect. Again this care cycle could easily result in mums health regressing and ending back at the RUH where she occupies a bed, needs to be seen by Drs, Registrars, Consultants etc. She will now need regular district nurse visits to come out and dress the wound, again unnecessary care costs resulting from poor care management (in my view).

So, Sonia and I have agreed that we need to get her home as we can provide a better level of care as we understand her requirements. Luckily my boss/company is supportive and has allowed me to work from home for a bit so I can be with mum during the day and continue her rehab with regular walks around the house and leg exercises, better diet and therefore get her diabetes back under control and most importantly for mum, back in her home in surroundings that she is used to.

Its a new challenge for Sonia, Ella and me but its got to be better than leaving the care to the professionals!

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