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‘A doctor told me I could be here for months’: patients stuck in England’s hospitals

A Guardian analysis has found that as many as one in three hospital beds in parts of England are occupied by patients who are well enough to be discharged, with a chronic lack of social care meaning many do not have suitable places to go. 

Barry Long's 91-year-old mother has Alzheimer’s and was admitted to Worthing hospital on 30 May after a minor fall. She was a bit confused but otherwise unhurt, just a bit shaken. Whilst in hospital, she caught Covid and had to be isolated, which she found distressing, and became increasingly disoriented.

She was declared medically fit to be discharged but no residential bed could be found for her. Then, in August, she was left unsupervised and fell over trying to get to the toilet and she fractured her hip, which required surgery. 

Her hip was just about healed when she caught her shin between the side bars and the frame of the bed, cutting her shin so badly that she is being reviewed by a plastic surgeon to see if it needs a skin graft.

"Since the operation, my mum is pretty much bedbound and lives in a state of confusion and anxiety", says Barry. "Her physical health and mental wellbeing have deteriorated considerably in the almost five months she has spent in the care of the NHS. She spends all day practically trapped in bed, staring into space or with her eyes shut, just rocking to and fro. She has little mental stimulation."

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Source: The Guardian, 13 November 2022


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