Saturday, October 23, 2010

Not quite yet, my friend.

A bout of influenza can keep a young person away from work for a week. For a frail older person, a week of flu can turn easily into six weeks in hospital, followed by 12 weeks in a rehabilitation centre. It does not help when the patient at first refuses to have the doctor in because they do not want to end up in hospital for months, and thereby ensuring they do. Need I say this is exactly what happened to Arthur, my husband. He went in during the worst of Winter in Adelaide and he will get back home as the grapevine bursts into Spring bud.

After all the antibiotics and exercises, the meetings with physiotherapists and my daily visiting taking in taped English Premier League games, all seemed set for a home-coming on next Monday the 25th of October 2010. All we needed was a care-plan written up by the home services provider (who shall remain un-named). All, you hear me say, all?

The social worker at the rehab unit delivered the bad news, not bothering to conceal her frustration and anger. Despite weeks rolling by while Arthur ate pureed food, struggled against pain and discomfort to get his walking strength back (Rocky has nothing on this guy), sitting through bored hours watching TV and waiting for me to bring in the latest Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool matches to watch, no care plan is ready.

Arthur has to stay put until the 3rd November. I did point out that some-one in a hospital bed is waiting for Arthur's bed in the rehab unit of the nursing home, and there is a person in the Accident & Emergency waiting for that hospital bed, and some-one is on a gurney in the corridor waiting for that A&E bed, and that some elderly person at home with the flu  is just about to come in with a chest infection that needed antibiotics a week ago, but they wouldn't call a doctor because they didn't want to end up waiting in beds in various nooks and crannies of our health system. The social worker agreed but told us the un-named non-profit provider delivering Arthur's government funded services couldn't be shifted. It is a bit like Scunthorpe Under 14's Boys trying to get past the Man United defence. No, it is worse than that because the Scunthorpe boys at least have hope and can try their luck. Arthur has neither hope nor luck to count on for getting home before the 3rd of November.

I am in awe of our health system and its many dedicated workers, especially the ones at the coal-face, However, some decisions of middle management are indeed puzzling.

By the way, who is that middle management bloke running around asking if anyone has seen the Scunthorpe team bus?