Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The Grand Old Duke of York

I have spent a lot of the past few weeks feeling like the Grand Old Duke of York ... and today has been no exception!

This morning I was expecting a telephone call from the hospital to tell me that my father had been assessed by the care home he would be going to temporarily, and that he would be transferred there either this afternoon or tomorrow morning.

The call did not come, but my wife and I continued the necessary preparations in the hope that it would. By 3.00pm I had given up waiting, and I telephoned the hospital to find out what was happening ... only to be told that the person I needed to talk to was in a meeting.

I telephoned again at 4.30pm, and was informed that the assessment had taken place ... but no decision had yet been made as to if and when my father would be discharged into the care of the home.

Just before 5.00pm I was called by the hospital sister overseeing my father's discharge, and she informed me that the care home has assessed my father and were going to accept him into their care tomorrow ... but she was not sure when.

This was followed up a few minutes later by another telephone call, this time from the nurse responsible for my father's care ... who informed me that my father was going to be discharged tomorrow afternoon, but that he was not sure when. He did say, however, that the hospital would telephone and inform me as to the time my father was going to be discharged before it actually took place.
Oh, The Grand Old Duke of York,
He had ten thousand men;
He marched them up to the top of the hill,
And he marched them down again.

And when they were up, they were up,
And when they were down, they were down,
And when they were only half-way up,
They were neither up nor down.
As an aside, some years ago my deceased father-in-law's lady friend was discharged from a large hospital in Canterbury, Kent into a smaller cottage hospital in Whitstable. This was supposed to happen before lunch, so we drove my father-in-law to Whitstable mid-afternoon to see her, only to be informed that the lady had not arrived, and that she was still in Canterbury. We drove to Canterbury ... and we were told that she had been discharged from the ward she had been in some hours beforehand and was on her way to Whitstable. We drove back to Whitstable ... but she was not there either. She finally arrived at Whitstable at nearly 11.00pm, having spent nearly twelve hours waiting in the Canterbury hospital's Discharge Area, during which time she had not been fed or give anything to drink.

I don't want something like this to happen to my father ... which is why I seem so obsessed with knowing when he will be discharged from hospital.


  1. Keep up the pressure on them, Bob. You are the only one who can advocate for your father! My wife and I have to do this constantly with our son's school. Their agenda is not the same as ours (to say the least), and our constant attention is the only way to ensure that the correct action is taken.

    Good luck.


  2. Chris,

    I find that I am constantly chasing people up to do what they have told me they are going to do ... and have forgotten to do (quite often due to them being overloaded with work), have been stopped from doing (due to procedural, financial, or managerial restraints), or have failed to do.

    I am well-educated, literate, used to dealing with large bureaucratic organisations, and quite assertive (my wife would say aggressive!) ... and I am having problems coping with 'the system'.

    All the best,


    PS. I sympathise with you regarding the way modern schools are run. I had forty years working in education, and saw schools go from being places where every pupil was valued to become results-driven/obsessed, 'one size fits all' learning 'factories'.

  3. I'm with Chris on this, as much as individuals in these institutions may care they tend to get overwhelmed and patients lost in bureaucracy. I've found its up to the family to provide/guide/insist and oversee.

    Best of luck for today

  4. Ross Mac,

    You are both right; it is up to family members to keep institutions on their toes ... but I just wish that it wasn't necessary.

    Luckily today went well, and my father is now safely housed in his new (temporary) care home.

    All the best,