Elderly folk’s fear of going into hospital

Have your say

ELDERLY residents in South Holland are “scared to go into hospital” and fear once admitted they may never leave.

The shocking statement follows a claim that hospitals were struggling to cope.

In the report, the Royal College of Physicians said acute wards were “on the brink of collapse” due to ever-increasing numbers of elderly patients and weekend staff shortages.

Pilgrim Hospital in Boston serves South Holland and is keen to reassure residents.

The Daily Mail, in a damning report about the Pilgrim in November last year, featured a 74-year-old man who, it was claimed, was not given a bed or prescribed medication because it was “clear he was dying”.

Liz Walmsley, general manager of Age Concern in Spalding, said: “Reports like this certainly worry the elderly.

“Some speak highly of Pilgrim and are quite happy with their care, but others have not had a good experience and it is these we tend to hear about.

“It is especially worrying for those who live alone and may not have family in the area who will ask questions about their care and make sure they are comfortable.

“Many elderly people are frightened of being left in hospital and being shipped off to a home because there is no after care available.”

A spokeman for United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust said: “We recognise the challenges outlined by the RCP and are taking steps to address these whilst trying to meet the challenging efficiencies agenda.

“We can reassure elderly patients using Pilgrim Hospital that many steps have been put in place to ensure their individual needs are met.”

These include a new system for staff to see every step of treatment an individual patient needs; working in partnership with organisations to ensure patients who leave hospital receive appropriate care in the community; emergency patients to be seen by a senior clinician every day; and extending working hours enabling patients to receive treatment seven days a week and return home more quickly.

The Trust is also holding a development day on Friday with Professor David Oliver, the national clinical director for Older People’s Services, who will offer advice on long-term plans for care of frail, elderly patients.