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Farce of a hospital appointment - Carers UK Forum

Farce of a hospital appointment

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Yesterday was my mum's annual eye appointment at our local hospital (sadly infamous as failing and under special measures). Background is that she is blind in one eye, has glaucoma in the other so obviously need to keep a check on the remaining sight that she has. Add this to her deafness, mobility problems and dementia, the hospital appt is always a challenge!

Arrived as usual to find the eye dept under siege, 40+ people waiting, no seats available bla bla. Eventually mum had her eye test. As ever, they insist on checking the blind eye to see what she can / can't see. Both nurse and I had a shock when mum confidently read P, O, A N, U. It bore no resemblance to what was on the screen but mum just made some letters up :) .

After another hour in a different waiting room, we then get to see the Great Doctor himself. He had his back to us when he introduced himself. I did explain that this wasn't the best tactic. He then looked through mum's unusually thin file to discover that the previous bulging fat file had been culled and all the previous eye information wasn't in the file he had been given. He then disappeared to look for the file leaving us in his office and returned 30 mins later without the file because the secretaries had gone home.

We then did the eye tests and he commented about the importance of mum having her eye drops in her right eye. No, she always has had them in her LEFT eye, say I. Well, on our (electronic) file, it says she should have them in her right eye. I point out that on the bottle it says that they should go in her left eye. So which is right - the hospital notes, the prescription? Have the carers / I been putting the drops in the wrong eye?? Eventually after much head-scratching, we decide that as the pressure in mum's eyes is OK (thank God), we will try to resolve this in six months time and we should keep doing what we have been doing. By this stage mum is not the only one confused.

The only good news from this whole appt is mum's eyes are no worse than a year ago :)

Apologies for the length of this; just wanted to tell someone!!!
Oh Lord - you couldn't make it up could you? My Dad also has lost sight in one eye and has glaucoma. He is now immobile due to a serious UTI a couple of years back. We always had problems with the tests at the hospital - field test one day and then back to see the Dr. a few days later - however many times I asked they could never manage to get the appointments together. We don't go to the hospital any more for his tests - I can't get him out on my own and I have no one to help me so we just cancel the appointments - no one has ever asked us why he's not going! His sight hadn't really changed much in 5 years and he's almost 94 so he made the decision not to bother to go as it was too much trouble.
Amazing, though sadly, not surprising!
talk about the left hand not knowing what the right hand's doing :ohmy:

But it's not funny is it when you're on the receiving end of NHS incompetence ?
Oh heavens, how frustrating and exhausting for you. :( I am so glad that we got my husband through cataract + glaucoma surgery on both his eyes before his dementia had become too much of a problem. He would not be able to cope with an eye test at all now. We always had very long waits in the eye clinic at our local hospital, too, but at least they didn't lose or destroy his file.
The eye-drops regime after his surgeries was so complicated that I had to print it out as a table and tick off each dose!

Anne, Ive sent you a PM :)
Oh, Anne, how incredibly frustrating and tiring for both of you. I'm glad that it seems your mum's eyes haven't got worse but sorry it seems to have taken a whole day to find out! You do wonder just how they operate sometimes. Love the fact that your mum just made up the letters though :)

We've had similar problems; it doesn't make any sense to me for these places to be so badly organised sometimes and to not be able to find vital information because someone has 'gone home'. I got home one day last year to find a message on the answerphone from our local hospital asking me to ring them. I was due to be going in for tests so assumed it was to do with that - but the person who left the message didn't leave a name, department or extension number, just the main switchboard number. It took 16 calls over two days to find out who had rung :blink:

I hope you've both recovered now - sounds like a good excuse for a cream cake :)
What a stressful experience for you both.

No wonder the hospital isin special measures, if that's the sort of negligent and inadequate service they provide. Shocking.

I sometimes have to very carefully balance the frustration of having to deal with people that I perceive to be incompetent (similar to your situation) with the fact that I know they are doing a job and just want to do well. It can be a challenge to hold your peace at times.
I always complain through the proper channels when I get home. Complaints have to be counted and give a measure of improvements (or not!). I always try to offer a solution. For example I had problems with mum's discharge. The rules were on the internet, but never read! I suggested that they kept a hard copy in the PALS office. Matron and the PALS officer made themselves look really stupid when I, as a relative of patient, knew the rules much better than they did. I've done the same thing with our local council too. Now when I walk round my town, I am proud to see what improvements I've personally achieved with a few letters. There is a child safe play area and a wide wheelchair friendly tarmac path replacing a muddy track, for example. Complaints written well CAN work.