Family call for better superbug care

MARK NICHOLLS The family of an elderly patient who contracted two potentially deadly infections has called for better care for people recovering from superbugs after being sent home from hospital.

MARK NICHOLLS

The family of an elderly patient who contracted two potentially deadly infections has called for better care for people recovering from superbugs after being sent home from hospital.

Mabel Warren, 85, developed MRSA and clostridium difficile (C diff) after going into the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital last November after collapsing at home.

Her family say that since she was first discharged last December, she has suffered relapses with severe diarrhoea - the latest at the weekend, which saw her readmitted to the N&N - as a result of both infections and they have had difficulty getting suitable community-based care for her at home.

Her son Richard Warren, of Dowling Close, Dereham said: “The care she received in the hospital was good but what is needed is better care for people when they leave hospital after suffering chronic conditions and such infections.”

The family's call follows revelations that C diff contributed to the deaths of 17 patients at Gorleston's James Paget University Hospital between December and March, while over a 12-month period 20 who died at the N&N had varying strains of C diff and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital at King's Lynn has reported 13 C diff-related deaths since December.

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Mrs Warren has been prescribed antibiotics several times since last December to try to stop the bugs recurring. Her family say the pattern is that five days after the treatment ends, she again develops severe diarrhoea.

She was admitted to Swanton Morley's Lincoln House care home and returned home but at the end of March spent another spell at the N&N. She came home but is now back in hospital.

Her daughter Valerie Holdsworth, of Weston-super-Mare, said: “We have no real help from care in the community. At one stage, my mother spent nine days in a chair because we could get no-one to get her into bed.

“I have sat with her without sleep and it is quite exhausting but we also have to remember she is having to physically cope with the condition.”

Norfolk County Council social services offers support three times a day for Mrs Warren but her family believe she and others discharged after suffering C diff or MRSA need ongoing medical care.

Mrs Holdsworth said: “Doctors at the hospital said there should be care in the community but when we needed care in the community, it was just not there. What about those people who do not have a family? I believe mum would have died if we had not been there.”

Mark Taylor, Norfolk Primary Care Trust's director of provider services said: “We have robust systems in place to support patients who have been discharged from hospital back into their home, through our well established local district nursing teams.”

N&N spokeswoman Hayley Gerrard said when a patient who had C diff or MRSA while in hospital was discharged “a letter is sent to their GP, or doctor in charge if discharged to another hospital, giving information of treatment the patient has received whilst a patient here. If the patient becomes unwell again after they have left the hospital it is normally recommended they consult their GP.”