NHS treatment. Anybody got any insight?

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NHS treatment. Anybody got any insight?

Postby Si_Crewe » Mon Dec 05, 2016 1:27 pm

To start with, I should say that I really, really don't mean this as an NHS-bashing thread.
I'm just kind of "stuck" in a situation and I am hoping for advice or a bit of insight.

I think I've said before, a year or so ago my neighbour (the retired postie) lost his foot.
he recovered well and was doing fine but earlier on this year he was taken back into hospital due to an "infection" in his leg.

That was in May and he still isn't home yet.

I just can't understand what could be happening that it's kept him in hospital for 6 months.
I find myself thinking that there shouldn't be ANY problem that can't be fixed within a couple of months hospital stay, can there?
Assuming it isn't some kind of ongoing, degenerative, problem of course.

It's become a bit of a concern for us because we're friends with them and he asked us to look after his missus while he was in hospital.
She suffers from dementia and needs help with all sorts of stuff so we're around there almost every night to ensure she doesn't leave the oven on or leave the bath running etc.
It's also a bit awkward because he phones her from the hospital and then she forgets what he's told her so we never really know what's going on.
Their son lives in Dundee and he's quite happy to keep out of it and let us look after his mum.

I've talked to the postie and asked him to phone us directly, just so we know what's going on, but he doesn't seem to be very forthcoming with information either.

I guess we'll just keep on doing what we're doing in the absence of any new information but it's just a bit frustrating. :shake head:
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Re: NHS treatment. Anybody got any insight?

Postby Avon Barksdale » Mon Dec 05, 2016 2:58 pm

Si_Crewe wrote:I've talked to the postie and asked him to phone us directly, just so we know what's going on, but he doesn't seem to be very forthcoming with information either.


Next time you speak to him asking him to speak to the head nurse or one of the treating doctors during the ward round (presuming he feels comfortable with this) to provide verbal consent to discuss his condition with you or someone you feel is suited to the task. Then call up and discuss his care plan and prognosis as necessary.

Unfortunately, lengthy stays in hospital are not uncommon as sometimes symptoms can cascade and become chronic (go in for an infection which progresses to heart or organ issues which need to get under control or trouble with weight bearing if the patient has been bed bound for a lengthy period.) Clearly the hospital won't discharge him unless he is fit to go home and live independently. The last thing they will want is to discharge him prematurely and he bounces straight back into hospital.
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Re: NHS treatment. Anybody got any insight?

Postby Avon Barksdale » Mon Dec 05, 2016 3:07 pm

Additionally it may be worth contacting Social Services for the local authority where his wife lives (again if he consents) to see if they can arrange some temporary care for her while her husband is in hospital.
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Re: NHS treatment. Anybody got any insight?

Postby Si_Crewe » Sat Dec 10, 2016 1:58 pm

Just wanted to say thanks for the suggestions.

I've actually started to reply a few times over the last couple of days but it always ends up sounding like I'm moaning about something or other so I end up deleting the reply.

Suffice to say, we were in a similar position a few years ago and we jumped right in and, in the end, we got lumbered with a £5k bill for things that the local authority claimed had been done "at our request" so, unfortunately, we don't want to end up in a similar position again and that's making this a bit more awkward... even though we are, obviously, trying to do whatever we can to help.

Might sound a bit silly but I just genuinely can't wrap my head around the idea that somebody could be in hospital so long for a thing that should (AFAIK) be a case of "find the problem, fix it and then teach the person how to get back to their life".
I guess that there must be something that somebody isn't telling us.
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Re: NHS treatment. Anybody got any insight?

Postby Foxy » Wed Dec 14, 2016 8:38 pm

Can you not visit him in hospital, or maybe it's not a local one? Anyway, why did he lose his foot? If it was due to diabetes that can cause a whole host of problems and affect almost every organ in the body, and also take ages to get properly under control, especially if the foot was gangrenous. I know I'm making assumptions here, but if it's long term as it seems to be you should really not be taking on the responsibility of a lady with dementia.
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Re: NHS treatment. Anybody got any insight?

Postby Stooo » Wed Dec 14, 2016 8:55 pm

Si_Crewe wrote:To start with, I should say that I really, really don't mean this as an NHS-bashing thread.
I'm just kind of "stuck" in a situation and I am hoping for advice or a bit of insight.

I think I've said before, a year or so ago my neighbour (the retired postie) lost his foot.
he recovered well and was doing fine but earlier on this year he was taken back into hospital due to an "infection" in his leg.

That was in May and he still isn't home yet.

I just can't understand what could be happening that it's kept him in hospital for 6 months.
I find myself thinking that there shouldn't be ANY problem that can't be fixed within a couple of months hospital stay, can there?
Assuming it isn't some kind of ongoing, degenerative, problem of course.

It's become a bit of a concern for us because we're friends with them and he asked us to look after his missus while he was in hospital.
She suffers from dementia and needs help with all sorts of stuff so we're around there almost every night to ensure she doesn't leave the oven on or leave the bath running etc.
It's also a bit awkward because he phones her from the hospital and then she forgets what he's told her so we never really know what's going on.
Their son lives in Dundee and he's quite happy to keep out of it and let us look after his mum.

I've talked to the postie and asked him to phone us directly, just so we know what's going on, but he doesn't seem to be very forthcoming with information either.

I guess we'll just keep on doing what we're doing in the absence of any new information but it's just a bit frustrating. :shake head:


Ach, tissue viability issues (wound won't heal), very difficult to treat and district nurses able to treat that sort of stuff are few and far between so it's hospital time, silver bandages and Welsh maggots. I can PM you how I know but trust me, I know a bit about this stuff. I didn't read your OP about the Postie, was the amputation due to vascular issues?
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Re: NHS treatment. Anybody got any insight?

Postby Si_Crewe » Thu Dec 15, 2016 3:48 pm

Stooo wrote:Ach, tissue viability issues (wound won't heal), very difficult to treat and district nurses able to treat that sort of stuff are few and far between so it's hospital time, silver bandages and Welsh maggots. I can PM you how I know but trust me, I know a bit about this stuff. I didn't read your OP about the Postie, was the amputation due to vascular issues?


Embarrassed to say, I don't actually recall now. :oops:
I think he went into hospital a couple of years ago with a blood clot and they ended up having to amputate his lower leg.

You might recall, I posted a thread asking about where to get "wheelchair gloves" and I think it was you who suggested he could use weight-lifting gloves instead. :thumbsup:
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Re: NHS treatment. Anybody got any insight?

Postby Si_Crewe » Thu Dec 15, 2016 3:56 pm

Foxy wrote:Can you not visit him in hospital, or maybe it's not a local one? Anyway, why did he lose his foot? If it was due to diabetes that can cause a whole host of problems and affect almost every organ in the body, and also take ages to get properly under control, especially if the foot was gangrenous. I know I'm making assumptions here, but if it's long term as it seems to be you should really not be taking on the responsibility of a lady with dementia.


Yeah, I'm in Dumfries and he's in Edinburgh hospital.

We've visited a couple of times but it's not something I can do regularly.

Again, I don't mean for this to sound nasty but I guess I have to be a bit blunt...
I can only assume that the guy (the postie) is being a bit evasive because he's worried that we might stop helping if we were to find out the whole truth.
I guess I can understand that.
He's got big problems of his own and he's got people helping take care of his missus so he's probably happy to let things carry on as they are.
I just wish we could get the whole story so we could be in a better position to figure things out in the long-term - on the basis that this clearly IS becoming a long-term thing.
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Re: NHS treatment. Anybody got any insight?

Postby Foxy » Tue Dec 20, 2016 7:45 am

Si_Crewe wrote:
Foxy wrote:Can you not visit him in hospital, or maybe it's not a local one? Anyway, why did he lose his foot? If it was due to diabetes that can cause a whole host of problems and affect almost every organ in the body, and also take ages to get properly under control, especially if the foot was gangrenous. I know I'm making assumptions here, but if it's long term as it seems to be you should really not be taking on the responsibility of a lady with dementia.


Yeah, I'm in Dumfries and he's in Edinburgh hospital.

We've visited a couple of times but it's not something I can do regularly.

Again, I don't mean for this to sound nasty but I guess I have to be a bit blunt...
I can only assume that the guy (the postie) is being a bit evasive because he's worried that we might stop helping if we were to find out the whole truth.
I guess I can understand that.
He's got big problems of his own and he's got people helping take care of his missus so he's probably happy to let things carry on as they are.
I just wish we could get the whole story so we could be in a better position to figure things out in the long-term - on the basis that this clearly IS becoming a long-term thing.


I've been in a similar situation. My neighbour was old, deaf as a post and had dementia. No relatives as far as I knew but he had carers coming in a few times a day. He still knocked on my door quite often saying he couldn't find his keys, couldn't get in etc etc. I used to help as much as I could. I would get him to empty out his pockets and invariably there would be a key in there somewhere. I would take him into his home, settle him with a cuppa and leave him. One day he passed me his spectacle case and I said "Oh, do you want your glasses on?" and opened the case. A cascade of folded £10 and £20 notes fell out and I immediately felt very vulnerable.

That's the sort of thing that worries me in your situation. I don't know how far she is gone in her dementia but without some sort of authorisation you could be open to all sorts of accusations. I work in care and had an enhanced CRB check but that wouldn't have helped me if that money had gone missing. I informed the care agency what had happened and asked them to record it.

Please don't take this the wrong way, but I worry you might be vulnerable if anything happened. A fall, if she mislaid money, anything. My mum also had dementia and in the later stages would accuse us of all sorts of things.
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Re: NHS treatment. Anybody got any insight?

Postby Si_Crewe » Tue Dec 20, 2016 7:20 pm

I always think it's strange how dementia affects people.

I don't have a huge amount of experience but a couple of my elderly relatives had it, an old dear my missus knew when she was a kid had it and there's our neighbour too.

In all those cases, it's seemed like the person's long-term memory was fine but it was the short-term memory that was shot to bits.
In that sort of situation, I don't think there's much danger of false accusations or other wackiness because the person retains the basic knowledge that you're a friend who's there to help. It's just the day-to-day things that they struggle with.

For example, a couple of days ago we had to go around there because the central heating was "broken".
I was shitting myself because that could be a big job and expensive.
Fortunately (I suppose), there was nothing wrong with the CH and, at a guess, I'd say she just turned it off without thinking and then said it was "broken" when she was cold.
Anyway, we went around, I got the CH going again and the missus went around doing stuff like turning on leccy fires and a leccy blanket etc.
We hung around until the radiators got warm (cos we wanted to turn all the leccy stuff off again before we left) and while we were having a cup of tea she was talking and it became obvious that she'd just completely forgotten why we were there and she was just treating it as a nice visit by friendly neighbours.

I guess you just have to grin and bear it but when you're spending anywhere between an hour and 3 hours at somebody's house, every day for 8 months, it kinda puts a crimp in your own life.

And, as I've said, we were in a similar situation with one of the missus' old friends and after going to the local authority for help, they got involved for 18 months and then we got a bill for £9000 out of the blue, for services that had been rendered "at our request". :shake head:
You feel a bit shit for doing it but we had to get a lawyer involved and eventually the bill was reduced to £4000 which we paid off in installments.

So, that doesn't actually encourage us to contact them for help again.
I feel a bit shit for acting like this but that's why I want either the son or the husband to take charge. If anybody calls in help (and gets saddled with a bill) I want it to be them rather than us. :shake head:
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Re: NHS treatment. Anybody got any insight?

Postby Foxy » Wed Dec 21, 2016 8:50 am

It's completely understandable that you don't want to get saddled with a bill. I'd imagine when your postie friend eventually comes home he will need to call in some sort of help, especially if he's confined to a wheelchair which sounds entirely possible with only one foot and innumerable other problems apparently going on.

Why don't you write to him, explain your concerns and give him your phone number so you can have a chat, or speak to the medical social worker at the hospital, every hospital should have one? I still think you're in a vulnerable position.

I also think the son should step up to his responsibilities.
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