Thursday 11 April 2019

An Absolute Nightmare of a Day

I'll explain.

So my Nan was in a temporary nursing home after a fall (possible TIA) and breaking her right femur. This temporary home was aiming to rehabilitate her and get her back on her feet, as physios at the hospital were unable to do so.
Her needs became greater, so we (family, social worker etc) felt a care home (with dementia specialism, as she is also being assessed for this) would now be where she needed to live. After sorting everything out, we found a really amazing place with one great room she could move into straightaway, and one even better room she could move to after a few weeks. She had made as much progress as she could at the temporary nursing home, and the end date of her contract there was soon.
My parents and I had a call from the temporary nursing home a couple of days ago. The contract had ended and Nan was to leave the next day. Bed management had booked an ambulance transfer to the new home, so all we needed to do was go to the temporary home and collect her stuff before following the ambulance to the new home. The time slot for ambulance arrival was between 11am and 1pm. Sounds pretty reasonable and relatively simple, right?
Well Dad and I made our way to the temporary nursing home yesterday morning. We arrived at 11.30am after a delay on the M6 due to a collision near the next junction after the one we were to get off at. We found my Nan had been plonked in the lounge with bags of her stuff next to her, and some cleaners in her old room. She was annoyed because they'd only told her that morning that she was leaving! She was pleased that she'd be going so soon though.
Anyway, we sat by my Nan and waited for the ambulance to arrive. 1pm came and went, so I rang my Mum to see if she could contact bed management to see if they could chase up the driver. Apparently, the time slot was actually between 11am and 3pm. More of a wait, so we weren't happy, but at least it wasn't too long. So we waited. 3pm came and went, so we spoke to one of the nurses to see if she could chase it up. She told us that ambulance transport is rarely on time, and all we could do was continue to wait
We waited another hour before ringing Mum again to see what was going on. She told us that she'd rang the temporay home and the manager would be over to speak to us as soon as possible.
The manager came at 4.30pm and said she had bad news. The cut off point for ambulance transport was 4.00pm, so we would not have any transport, and the booking hadn't been made properly, so an ambulance would never have arrived anyway! We were furious. She said she'd see what she could do. She spoke to the transfer company, and they said they could pick Nan up at 11pm that night! Of course we refused. It was far too late, and besides, the care home would not admit her that late. The manager didn't know what to do (great management, right??) and it was left to my Dad and I to figure out how we would get Nan to the home that day.
The manager told us that if we couldn't get transport, Nan would have to stay another night. Nan had already been distressed to the point of shouting and almost crying. She became angry and said there was no way she was stopping another night there at all. She'd had a terrible time there and this day was the worst day of her life. I suggested booking a wheelchair taxi, and hinted I would like the care home, bed management, or transfer company to fund this. They would not fund it, so it was down to myself and Dad to come up with the money for the 45 minute (at least) journey from temporary nursing home (in Stafford), to new care home (near Wolverhampton). The manager gave us the numbers for the only companies in Stafford that provided wheelchair taxis. I rang the first and couldn't get through after about four attempts. The second company's wheelchair taxis were all booked up for that day. The only option left (that Nan would actually agree to) would be to try and get Nan into our car, with the help of some carers. What we needed to do first though was, to get permission from the manager and physios (for health and safety reasons) and check the new care home would still admit her that day. Apparently their cut off point was usually 4pm, but the manager there made exceptions and arranged for sandwiches to be prepared for Nan.
Getting Nan from lounge to car wasn't easy in the slightest. Getting her from the chair in the lounge, into my mum's wheelchair (she didn't have her own available) was very hard and took a lot of encouragement. The same went for getting Nan from the wheelchair into the car. It involved one carer holding the wheelchair steady, another holding a walker to help her transfer, and another practically picking Nan up under the arms whilst she did her best to move her feet just enough to reach the walker and then the car. We finally got her in and managed to fit the rest of her stuff in the car. She was in a lot of pain, but in better spirits that she was going to a much nicer place.
We eventually arrived at the new home at around 7.30pm. It had been a long day! A couple of carers came out and helped Nan out of the car and into the wheelchair. They took her to the lounge to have her tea, then showed my Dad and I to her room. We were given a pot of tea and biscuits to have whilst we put Nan's stuff away! I can't fault how we or my Nan were treated. When she was taken up to her room, Nan was chatting away with a smile on her face. She wanted to check everything was how she wanted it, and that the duvet wasn't too far up to her chin when she was helped into bed. Other than that, she was happy though. This was such a relief! We had a quick chat with her and the night staff introduced themselves then we left Nan to sleep in peace.
So it was a real nightmare of a day, and Nan had been very upset and hard to calm down in the daytime, but by evening time, things had vastly improved. I feel much better about her being in this new place, as I've heard terrible things about some of the carers in the temporary home. I'm not sure how much to believe, but I do have a lot of concerns.

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