A few days after my last post, my 84 year-old mother fell down at home. She appeared confused, but in no pain. The " out of hours" GP was called. He arrived within an hour and took another couple of hours examining her. Because the patient appeared to be "pain-free", but unable to walk, his diagnosis was guarded. He spoke to the local hospital and arranged for an ambulance to take her there for admission. Within less than two hours, she had been admitted and was being examined by an A & E registrar. Once again, the diagnosis was guarded.
When I contacted the hospital the next morning, I was told that she had fractured her right hip and was listed for surgery 3.00 p.m. that afternoon. Fortunately the fracture was undisplaced. The Hemiarthroplasty was completed by 6.00 p.m.
She improved quickly, and within a day she was walking with the aid of a Zimmer. Within a week, she was clearly on the mend- she had started grumbling about the food!
After 10 days she was discharged to "The Roseborough Unit"-described on the brochure as a "Orthogeriatric Step Down". The unit is run, and presumably financed, by North Tyneside Social Services, North Tyneside Primary Care Trust and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust. Its purpose is, as far as possible, to get the patient fit enough to get back home safely.
Most of those passing through the place are women between 80 and 85. And surprisingly most were discharged back to their homes.
The physiotherapy and occupational therapy together with the wonderful work of the care-staff- I really don't know where their reserves of patience come from- meant that my mum returned home exactly four weeks from her admittance.
I'm delighted mum's been at home now for a week. North Tyneside Social Services arranged for a rail to be fixed to the stairs to make it just that little bit easier for her to go up and come down. She's almost Zimmer free and able to look after herself. Of course she'll need help shopping and getting out but she's already started a spring-cleaning regime.
You read so many horror stories about the NHS. Folk left lying around for hours on trolleys in corridors. The epidemic of C-difficile and MRSA killing off the patients. But I suspect my experience over the last month or so is more typical. It is really hard to fault the treatment my mother received.