'Bed-blocked' OAP's 3-month hospital stay
DISMAYED relatives of a Swansea pensioner claim she has been stuck in hospital for weeks when she could have been treated at home.
Mike Asals and his wife Kim said Mike's aunt, Marjorie Carr, had been "bed-blocked" at Singleton Hospital through no fault of her own.
They also believe that a key reason Miss Carr, 84, was there in the first place was because she had been discharged too early from Morriston Hospital following a knee replacement operation on April 20.
Miss Carr, who lives alone in Sandfields, developed a blood clot in her leg three days after being discharged on April 24.
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At the time, Mr and Mrs Asals, of Killay, were on holiday in the Far East. They said they would have been around to help if the operation had not been postponed from earlier that month. They were distraught to hear while abroad that Miss Carr had been taken by ambulance to her empty home.
Since being admitted to Singleton on April 27, Miss Carr has remained in Ward 3 where she picked up an infection, further delaying her recovery. It is estimated to cost the NHS up to £400 a day per hospital bed.
The local health board has now brought forward her discharge date and said it would review her case to see if lessons could be learned.
But Mr and Mr Asals claimed that once her blood clot had been treated, these daily checks could and should have been done by a community nurse, allowing Miss Carr — whose sight is impaired but who is otherwise medically well — to be at home where she wanted to be.
"Her knee is OK," said Mr Asals. "The issue is about dispensing the correct number of (Warfarin) pills.
"Nobody seems to want to take responsibility. She is dying to get out."
He also claimed Miss Carr had gone into Singleton a "feisty woman" but was now "worn down into acceptance".
He said his aunt's case was serious given the closure in recent years of Fairwood Hospital on Gower — which helped patient rehabilitation — and local health bosses' publicised drive for "enhanced recovery after surgery" to keep beds free for acute services.
Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board (ABMU) has flagged up the need to strengthen links with social services to ensure elderly patients in particular are not stuck in hospital for longer than necessary.
An ABMU spokeswoman said it understood Miss Carr and her relatives' frustration and apologised for any inconvenience.
"Mrs Carr has been given a July 30 discharge but we are working with our community resource team to see if we can put support in place to allow her home earlier," she said.
"We accept there may have been opportunities to discharge Miss Carr earlier and we will now be reviewing her case."
She added: "Blood clots can develop after knee replacement surgery. It has, however, taken some time for her condition to stabilise, and she has needed daily checks to modify her medication."
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