Hospital Appointment Transport

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My elderly ex neighbour is now in a (very expensive to my mind) care home.

I visit her on average once a week. It's quite a distance away but she has no relatives within travelling distance.

It seems she has some hospital appointments coming up and the under manager of the home tried to get me to agree to taking her there. I don't drive but my OH does. It would mean us leaving before 6 am to go and pick her up and take her there - all in all a distance of roughly 200 miles return. It will be quite a long day. This time of year the roads can be icy here & over run with deer. I just don't think we can do it.

Now, she is paying approx £1,000 a week. The care home is now run by the NHS. I would have thought that they should really provide her with transportation there and back. I felt quite mean saying that we couldn't do it but we really can't with all our other commitments.

Does anyone know if this sounds reasonable as I feel quite bad about this. The pressure was put on in front of the elderly lady and she seemed to feel like a nuisance now. I do feel guilty but I think I should have been summoned into an office or somewhere private to be asked this and not in a public area where others were present - am I being silly? Petty?
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  • Kim_kim
    Kim_kim Posts: 3,726 Forumite
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    choille wrote: »
    The pressure was put on in front of the elderly lady and she seemed to feel like a nuisance now. I do feel guilty but I think I should have been summoned into an office or somewhere private to be asked this and not in a public area where others were present - am I being silly? Petty?

    I think you should make a formal complaint. It might mean they review it their privacy procedures.
  • Loanranger
    Loanranger Posts: 2,439 Forumite
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    Surely a care home has this problem of transporting residents to hospital appointments on a fairly regular basis. Your reply should have been to politely decline and ask them to instigate their usual procedure which may be to contact the patient transport people at the hospital and make the arrangements directly with them.
  • choille
    choille Posts: 9,710 Forumite
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    Loanranger wrote: »
    Surely a care home has this problem of transporting residents to hospital appointments on a fairly regular basis. Your reply should have been to politely decline and ask them to instigate their usual procedure which may be to contact the patient transport people at the hospital and make the arrangements directly with them.

    I was completely put on the spot. It was done in front of the elderly lady & other residents in the lounge area.

    I did tell her I couldn't drive but she pressed on asking me if i didn't know someone kind who would take her. I did say I doubted that we could as it was too early an appointment. I felt mean but also the elderly lady felt as if she was a nuisance. I was taken aback by all of this.
  • GlasweJen
    GlasweJen Posts: 7,451 Forumite
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    I work in an outpatient clinic and we get a lot of carehome residents in. The homes usually send the resident and a care assistant if family aren't available. They can either book a hospital transport ambulance but this involves a lot of waiting about so they're one member of staff down for every resident away at an appointment that day. The posher homes or giant council homes have their own ambulance style bus or if it's not economical they'll send the patient and care assistant in a taxi.
  • choille
    choille Posts: 9,710 Forumite
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    The woman said she'd just have to get one of the 'girls' to take her in their car. Meaning a care assistant using her own car. I think it's quite short staffed and it isn't big so they don't have a minibus, but I think costs are being squeezed at the moment.
  • Mojisola
    Mojisola Posts: 35,559 Forumite
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    choille wrote: »
    I was completely put on the spot. It was done in front of the elderly lady & other residents in the lounge area.

    I did tell her I couldn't drive but she pressed on asking me if i didn't know someone kind who would take her. I did say I doubted that we could as it was too early an appointment. I felt mean but also the elderly lady felt as if she was a nuisance. I was taken aback by all of this.

    This was unacceptable - and very unfair on both you and their resident.

    I can understand the pressure on a manager to keep costs down by getting family or friends to undertake the tasks that take a carer away from the home but this wasn't the place to have the conversation.
  • Robisere
    Robisere Posts: 3,237 Forumite
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    In my area we have a Voluntary hospital transport scheme, drivers who volunteer to take people to appointments, whether or not accompanied by a carer. It may be worth Googling something like that in your area.

    On the other hand, the Care home should be responsible for this.
    I think this job really needs
    a much bigger hammer.
  • choille
    choille Posts: 9,710 Forumite
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    Thanks all for your thoughts on this. I was mulling it all day & feel quite vexed about it.

    I will contact the hospital on Monday and see what they say.
  • Flugelhorn
    Flugelhorn Posts: 5,693 Forumite
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    I find that care homes can be a bit oblivious to where visitors / relatives live - they can't understand why someone won't drop everything and drive 60 miles to take someone at short notice to hospital etc.

    The usual problem is that they are short of carers to go with them.

    The local volunteer car service or a taxi is usually best option.
  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,109 Forumite
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    choille wrote: »
    Does anyone know if this sounds reasonable as I feel quite bad about this. The pressure was put on in front of the elderly lady and she seemed to feel like a nuisance now. I do feel guilty but I think I should have been summoned into an office or somewhere private to be asked this and not in a public area where others were present - am I being silly? Petty?
    No, this does NOT sound reasonable. No, you are not being silly or petty.

    I'm sorry your friend was made to feel like a nuisance, but personally I would contact the care home and say that you found their behaviour insensitive and a breach of confidentiality. You are a former neighbour, not a family member, and while you are happy to continue visiting AS A FRIEND you cannot take responsibility for any of your neighbour's appointments.
    choille wrote: »
    Thanks all for your thoughts on this. I was mulling it all day & feel quite vexed about it.
    I feel vexed on your behalf!
    choille wrote: »
    I will contact the hospital on Monday and see what they say.
    I'm not sure there's much point in you doing this. The hospital can only speak to you in general terms, and it's the responsibility of the care home to make these arrangements. Even if the hospital says that X or Y could be arranged, you run the risk of involving yourself too much: if the care home think you are willing to make calls and arrange things then they'll probably be only too happy to let you. Next thing you know, you'll be expected to take her to the dentist, chiropodist, optician and hairdresser ...
    Signature removed for peace of mind
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