James had Parkinson’s disease, and was admitted to hospital following a fall. He lived at home with the support of his wife, but his health had deteriorated significantly over the previous six months. His wife felt she could manage with a care package in place.
The unfamiliar surroundings in hospital increased his anxiety and agitation. With sedation prescribed and cot sides installed on his bed to manage his behaviour on the ward and stop him from leaving, his wife became very worried. She was keen to get him home because she knew the hospital environment, which was not providing anything other than containment, was exacerbating his agitation. Staff shortages meant James was given little help, and his wife was concerned he was not drinking or eating unless she was around to help him. She struggled to find an appropriate person to speak to on the ward and felt she was constantly ignored or dismissed. At this point she contacted Swan for support.
The Swan advocate raised the wife’s concerns; that James may be being illegally deprived of his liberty due to the high level of sedation received, and that he was clearly objecting to being in hospital. The advocate pointed out that the ward did not appear to be providing any care or treatment that could not be provided at home, so remaining in hospital was not the least restrictive option. The following day the advocate received a call from the wife to say she had been contacted by the senior sister, to notify her that James would be discharged that day once the care agency confirmed his package of care. She felt that the support and intervention from the advocate had made huge a difference in getting staff to take her concerns seriously.