Elderly patients left abandoned at Linden Hospital


first_imgOfficials attached to the Linden Hospital Complex (LHC) have noted with concern, an increase in the prevalence of elderly patients being abandoned by their relatives at the medical institution for extended periods.According to the officials, persons, who are somewhat incapacitated are deliberately left at the medical institution. While there has been an influx of such cases at the hospital over the years, its Public Relations Officer (PRO), Toshanna Alicock, noted that presently there are seven persons at the medical institution who have been abandoned by their relatives. The figure, she noted, refers to persons left at the hospital for extended periods of time even though they no longer require medical attention. As such, hospital officials are urging persons to desist from such practice, as concerns continue to be raised over the need for an elderly care home in the Linden community.Social worker attached to the hospital, Laurette Smith-Gray, said the medical institution does not have the capacity to deal with long-term patients.“Most persons that we’re dealing with are persons who would have been here months after the doctors would have written their discharge. It therefore meansPRO Toshanna Alicock (left) and social worker Laurette Smith-Graythey’re no longer under medical management, but they fall as social patients. Now, the hospital does not have the capacity to hold persons who are not patients that are in dire need of medical attention,” Smith-Gray said. She added that on any given day, most of the beds in the female, male and paediatric wards are filled to capacity and are sometimes overfilled, even more so when there are surgeries. This, she noted, puts the hospital in a difficult position. “When we have people here as social cases, it then puts the hospital in a situation where we are pressed for space, where we may have to turn away some persons, where we may have to send some persons away without fully assessing their condition before they’re fully discharged,” she said. As such, the social worker is asking family members to take responsibility and look into the care of their relatives.Smith-Gray also urged that persons desist from calling the ambulance services to have their relatives removed from their home under the guise that they are ill, in the event that there might be a real medical emergency.She said recently, there has been an increase in cases where an ambulance is called for persons who are not ill and they are left abandoned at the hospital.Smith-Gray said there has also been cases of minors, who are left at the hospital, however such cases are referred to the Child Care and Protection Agency for them to be placed in the necessary homes.The social worker said while some persons may be terminally ill, relatives are expected to take them home after hospitalisation so as to provide continued management. In some cases, she said family members are a no show even after contact is made for them to collect their relatives.“I have had persons here for months, never heard from any relative until they would have died…,” she noted. Even more worrying, she said, persons left in the hospital environment for an extended period are at risk of contracting nosocomial infections (infections acquired from being in hospitals for prolonged periods).Over the years, residents and officials of Linden have voiced concerns over the absence of an elderly care home to cater for elderly people in vulnerable circumstances. The situation at the LHC has also reiterated such calls by hospital officials. (Utamu Belle)last_img

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