A-Z

Experiences of Covid-19 and Intensive Care

Discharge from hospital

On this page people speak about being discharged from hospital after being in intensive care:

  • How people felt about going home
  • The timing of leaving hospital
  • Emotional encounters when leaving the hospital buildings

Before they are discharged from hospital, patients need to meet certain criteria, and be judged well enough to manage at home without professional help from nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. Among many health care professionals working on the ward towards an individual’s recovery for hospital discharge, physiotherapists support patients on the wards to regain their strength, and assess whether they are ready to be discharged from hospital. Physiotherapists work closely with Occupational Therapists, who assess the needs patients are likely to have once home and how these are going to be met. This might include practical changes for the home, such as commodes or arranging space to sleep downstairs. Some patients may be assessed on the ‘activities of daily living’ they will need be able to do for themselves, such as cooking a meal for themselves or moving around their home. The environment patients go to after leaving hospital plays a role in this assessment: and where appropriate, some need to be able to pass a walking test or to climb stairs without their blood oxygen levels dropping too low.

 

Chris asked about discharge criteria as soon as he was moved to the ward.

Chris asked about discharge criteria as soon as he was moved to the ward.

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So, then they moved me down to the respiratory ward, I remember I was taken in, the doctor came – this is about eight o'clock in the evening – the doctor came straight in and said to me, hi, you’re on a respiratory ward, you’ve had this and this, do you have any questions. And I said to him…I remember I said to him, yeah, I’ve got one question, how do I get home? And he said, you need to be able to breathe by yourself and walk 30 metres. And he said, thank you, you’re the only person who’s ever asked me that. Because that’s what was in my head, that I wanted to get home then. And then, yeah, I was put on a ward with four of us. I settled in that night.

It was, again, the staff were amazing, nurses were there all the time checking on you, the doctors were there every day. And just I think I got in – I was on 40 per cent oxygen – the day later they moved me onto ten per cent oxygen. The next day the doctor said, try him with no oxygen, and I managed to have two days where I didn’t need any oxygen.

And on the third day of no oxygen, I managed to pass a walk test and be sent home, which was absolutely amazing, because there was a time when you’re in intensive care when you think you’ll not come out of there. But, yeah, when the doctor came in and said, are you able to call someone to come and collect you, that was amazing. So yeah, so that’s pretty much it.

And then you came home?

Yeah, then I came home… When you’re in hospital they got me to pass a walk test of walking 30 metres, on a flat surface, which is fine.

Patients are discharged from hospital when they are considered well enough to manage at home, either on their own or with the help of family, friends and/or professional carers. As someone may still be very weak, patients will be discharged from hospital with a treatment plan which may include nursing care, or continuing physiotherapy (in person, or, if that is not possible, then online via video). Some people are discharged to a rehabilitation unit or a nursing home, where they receive additional care and support.

Blood oxygen levels, also called ‘saturation levels’ are one way of indicating of how well the body is coping in transporting oxygen to its vital organs. Somebody who is well has blood oxygen saturation levels between 95% and 100%. In many hospitals, a value of 92% indicates the threshold that a patient needs to reach before being allowed to be discharged from hospital.

People are generally discharged from hospital with a treatment plan which may include and may continuing physiotherapy in person, or, if that is not possible, then online via video. Health care professionals are still learning about the long-term effects of Covid. It is expected that many will continue to need support with fatigue, neurological issues – for example confusion or ‘drop foot’ – and breathlessness, possibly due to scarring in their lungs.

Feelings about going home

Many people we spoke to had been in the hospital for a long time, and most had not been able to see their family members and friends in person. They were desperate to go home, to ‘regain a sense of normality’ and to be with loved ones, even if they felt uncertain and fearful about managing without the support of hospital staff. While most were discharged home, a few people went to rehabilitation units before going home. (See for more information about hospital discharge after ICU’).

Chris asked about the criteria for his discharge as soon as he got onto the ward. Emma noticed that the hospital was getting busier during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. This motivated her to try to walk so that she could go home. Some patients felt ready to go home before their doctors felt they could. Geraldine wanted to go home so that she could see her daughter who was also in hospital, but did not realise how ill she still was herself.

Emma was motivated to try and walk to be able to go home: “Every day I’d be like, what do I need to do to get home, how do I need to…what boxes do I need to tick, because the hospital we knew was getting busier and busier and busier, and the poor nurses were working flat out, so you knew, and in my head I’m thinking, I’ll be happier at home, because once you’re home, it’s your own environment, so they wouldn’t tell me what I needed to do, but I knew I just needed to do something … Every day was like, I went, can I have a frame, I need to try and walk, so they’d come in and they’d say, right, today we’re going to do this.”

 

Geraldine did not realise how weak she still was and wanted to go see her daughter, who was in another hospital.

Geraldine did not realise how weak she still was and wanted to go see her daughter, who was in another hospital.

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That’s the first thing I tested: whether I can move my legs. And I could move my legs. So, if I can move my legs, sitting down, maybe I can get up and walk out. I can discharge myself. That’s what I thought. And then the doctor said…asked me how am I, so I said I’m okay. And then he asked me several questions. I don’t know what I said. And then I think I must have said I want to go home, and he said no, you can’t go. I was getting alarmed, and he said you can’t go. I said why, why can’t I go. And then he said you are not well. You need to stay some more. I tell you I was stubborn. I was very stubborn that day. I said no, I don’t want to stay; I want to go and see my daughter. She’s in the hospital. I want to go. He said you can’t go.

This is why you wanted to go quickly?

Yes. So that was it. So, I think from that day onwards every nurse, doctor, coming in, I’m telling them I don’t want to stay here. And I can’t sleep here. That’s it. I told them I can’t sleep here because they make a lot of noise. All the long corridor in the community, you know, hospital, they are… It’s a long corridor to walk anyway, from the ward to the door, the way out. And then I want to go home. I didn’t want to stay. What was the point of staying here? But anyway I, sort of, argued…it’s like I feel like I’m arguing with the doctor, which I normally don’t do. I was getting a bit annoyed. Why am I staying here for? The doctor said you are not well; you can’t go now. You, on the 12 April, I was telling doctor look, I want to go home. My home is nearby. I told him why don’t I just…I’ve got my freedom pass, I can just hop on the bus. I thought I will be able to just go, like how I was before. I can walk.

And did you at any point realise how weak and…?

I didn’t think of anything that day. That day when I woke up, I wanted to… All my thoughts, my strength, whatever was left over, geared to see my daughter.

And I thought I could walk out, and I didn’t realise. Actually the…because I was not using the stairs in the hospital anyway, they have lifts so you can go down and come up and it’s really easier. But I didn’t bargain with steps. With ambulance always taking the patients home anyway. Then they are [inaudible] because the doctors are saying it’s a public holiday. I remember it so vividly, even today. Public holiday, we can’t…because they had to pay for ambulance guys.

Yeah, so you stayed two days more.

That’s it. Two days more. I didn’t mind about two days more. It is okay, fantastic, I’ll be home. But I didn’t bargain when climbing up the stairs. Then [when I was discharged] I realised I’m in a bad way. A really bad way.

Yeah.

Maybe it happened to everybody, poorly Covid patients. I don’t know because I had arthritis, neuropathy, what other things…stuff going on, aches and pains. It’s only my legs that were weak. Very weak.

The timing of leaving hospital: waiting for discharge and leaving hospital early

Some people had to wait for a long time until they were well enough to be discharged which they found frustrating. Carl’s confusion continued for a long time, and he was unable to answer the questions that staff asked him each morning. Brian remembered becoming fixated on his blood oxygen saturation levels, indicated by the equipment he was connected to, whilst he waited on getting well enough to go home: “you’re just watching all of this and you’re figuring it all out, you know, right from the oxygen levels, on that CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure).” Chris was not discharged until he passed his walking test.

 

Carl was only discharged when his confusion disappeared. Coming home was a relief.

Carl was only discharged when his confusion disappeared. Coming home was a relief.

Age at interview: 50
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 50
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I just kept pushing. I remember every morning they’d come along and ask me questions: what year is it? who am I? where am I? I didn’t do very well. Every day I couldn’t really remember the name of the hospital. I think I could remember my name. I couldn’t always remember my date of birth. I probably got the date wrong every day or the year wrong. It felt like I never seemed to get the year right because I was just very confused every morning because I’d just had a whole heap of dreams all night long. And that’s why I was saying earlier I was not letting the, I didn’t want to have any more drugs because I felt I’d fail the questions in the morning and then I wouldn’t get out of here. And I felt like I’m never going to get out of here because I can’t answer the questions. I remember sitting there all day long trying to memorise all the questions, which were only like, where are you, what year is it, what day is it, or something like that, really simple, but I just couldn’t remember. I often couldn’t remember my surname and things like that. My brain was just all over the place.

And to the point where eventually one morning they came round, and I could remember everything. But I sat there literally in the morning trying to memorise it and stuff. I couldn’t write anything down because I couldn’t use my hands or anything.

It’s quite weird how you can lie there. I’m somebody who’s got several businesses; I’m flat out, non-stop, I hardly sleep at night, I’m flat out all the time, to just lie in a hospital bed and look at the ceiling. I was next to a window but couldn’t really see much out of the window, only the sky, but I’m looking out everywhere. And I’m just to be almost watching the world go by for hour after hour after hour. If I could turn the TV on, I couldn’t because I didn’t really know what I was doing with it, I don’t think I’d have watched it because it was just too much to concentrate. I couldn’t concentrate on anything. I felt really, really weak and I was just unsure.

And it was a nice feeling to be able to get out of the hospital eventually and get home. Arriving home, I could still hardly walk. I think probably, I don’t think they really wanted to let me go out of hospital; I was kind of pushing and pushing and saying I was okay. Literally in hospital I was saying every day, can I go home, can I go home, can I go home, desperate to get home. And eventually to get home was the relief. And sitting down having the family around me I just can’t describe to you how it boosted me up, even though I couldn’t really walk very far. I was still quite confused about the whole thing. But from that moment I never had any more dreams, no more hallucinations, nothing, it just instantly stopped.

 

Chris was not discharged before he passed his walking test; he found failing the test twice demoralising.

Chris was not discharged before he passed his walking test; he found failing the test twice demoralising.

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So yeah, when I was sat on the ward for the last three…once he took the oxygen off, I felt a bit bad because my oxygen levels were able to…were pretty high even when I was not on oxygen, when I was sat there. But I was failing my walk test, but then for three days I was literally sat in my chair, fully clothed, feeling bad because everyone around me had masks on all day and I was literally sat there; because I couldn’t pass my walk test, I wasn't allowed home.

And it actually got a bit demoralising to fail two walk tests, and then just go back there, and you sit there without a mask on. And, yeah, I had my phone, and I could watch stuff on Netflix, but I was literally just sat on the ward just literally watching the clock, waiting for the next lunch, then you wait for the evening, your medication, someone come and take your sats every four hours. But yeah, I was literally sat fully clothed ready, I could go…I could sit there, my oxygen was sometimes reaching 100, just breathing normally, and I wasn’t allowed home because I couldn’t pass the walk test.

Some of the people we spoke to had to wait for something other than improvements in their condition before they could be discharged from hospital. Moazzam and Ann both had to wait until a stairlift could be organised by the occupational therapists and installed in their homes. Mark had to wait until a bed in the rehabilitation unit became available.

 

Ann was eager to go home but had to wait until a stairlift had been installed in her home.

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Ann was eager to go home but had to wait until a stairlift had been installed in her home.

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I thought, one…when I was in hospital, itching to come home, I remember the doctor saying, we can’t let you go until you have a stairlift fitted; because even with the physiotherapy, they have, like, these two or three step things that you have to try and get up and come down. Now I wasn’t so bad coming down, but it really was an effort to go up. Even though I have made strides in that department, but even when I was walking…and I think I pushed myself because I just wanted to sort of show them that I could walk so could they please let me go home. But it wasn’t as clear cut as that. So, we had to have a stairlift fitted before they would let me come home from hospital. Which I am grateful for.

Sometimes, patients may leave hospital early, before the clinical team are sure they are ready. For some people, early discharge was deemed beneficial specifically to allow a return to familiar environment and to the company of their family. Where family members had a clinical background, this made earlier discharge from hospital easier, as they knew what to expect and could easily take on care responsibilities.

 

Paula’s health care team decided that going home could help reduce her confusion.

Paula’s health care team decided that going home could help reduce her confusion.

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And they…I stayed on there for a few days and then it was decided that I'd probably be better off at home because of my confusion, I'd be better off at home and obviously Becks [partner] could look after me. And I was there telling them yes, I can do this, and I can do that when I couldn’t do anything, but I was so desperate to get out of the hospital because I was…because you just become fixated on if you are in the hospital, and you are in with germs. And that's what it like when, you know, Becks goes to work in it now every day and as soon as she comes in, she puts her uniform in the wash and it's washed, but it's…it's a really strange time, it's been strange. And I did…I was better when I came home, I was better in my own home and with familiar, you know, with Katie and Becks around me, but even, do you know what, it still feels like yesterday, it really does feel like very raw, very raw.

At peaks of the pandemic when hospital numbers were high, some patients were discharged while still very weak, to allow for others to be admitted. Many patients we spoke to were dependent on others to help them (see also ‘First weeks at home’).

While most were happy to go home from hospital, it was also a frightening transition. Emma “felt really vulnerable being out in the big bad world without a medical professional sitting on [her] shoulder”. Sadia’s father was unable to manage at home, and he was readmitted to hospital.

 

Wendy was discharged early which meant she had not received the physiotherapy that would have enabled her to go up the stairs in her home.

Wendy was discharged early which meant she had not received the physiotherapy that would have enabled her to go up the stairs in her home.

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How did you feel about leaving the hospital?

How did I?

Feel about leaving the hospital?

Oh no, I was quite happy to do that, yeah, no, I was happy to get home, yeah, very happy to get home. The one thing I didn’t do before I left hospital, because what happened was, there was a whole influx from Kent and London coming in so anybody that was okayish was sent home, but I hadn’t done any of the physio that you do before you leave hospital. And I know the physio was really quite cross about it because I’d seen her on the Friday and she said, right, I’ll see you Monday and then we’ll start doing a bit more walking with you and a few more stairs…and we’ll start the stairs. And I knew that you can’t go home until you’ve done the stairs because of previous things. And so, on the Sunday when they said, is there anybody at home, I said, yes. Can anybody come and pick you up? Yes. Right, you’re going to go home this afternoon then. Fabulous, you know, I thought, great.

And then I got a phone call from the physio on the Monday to say…you know, she was a bit upset that that had happened because I hadn’t done all the things that I should’ve done. And I’d only been off of oxygen for 18 hours so she was a little bit concerned about that. I was okay and then in the end the oxygen got installed here anyway because I did need that to keep me…stop it going so low.

So, on the Sunday when I got home, of course I had to go up…we’ve got stairs, I had to go up the stairs. Well, it nearly killed me. I got halfway up and just I was like [non verbal speech] like this, I couldn’t breathe. And I got to the top of the stairs and, you know, I said to my husband, just get me a drink of water. I had a drink of water and I had to just sit on the bed. And again, you know, it’s the breathing things that I’ve been taught through my ILD (Interstitial Lung Disease). So, it’s just sort of sit down, you know, use your diaphragm to get it all calmed down and breathe in and breathe out. And just had to sit there then for a good ten minutes just to get my breath back, and that was scary, that was scary.

And so, then I made sure that I had a bag so that anything I needed I just took downstairs so that I didn’t have to go up and down the stairs in the day. And then [name] when I started to get better, that became one of my exercises to go the stairs two or three times a day to help with my fitness. And now I can almost run up the stairs so that’s not quite so much of an issue. But that was a shock; that was a huge shock. I mean, I didn’t even think about, you know, I got home at about four o’clock, didn’t go to bed till about half past ten and it didn’t hit me until actually went to go up the stairs. So yeah, that was a bit of a, ooh how am I going to do this?

 

Brian spent two weeks at home before he reached the oxygen measure he would have initially needed to go home.

Brian spent two weeks at home before he reached the oxygen measure he would have initially needed to go home.

Age at interview: 55
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 55
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But I prayed to God, and this doctor came in one afternoon asking me questions and, by the evening, she came in, walked up to me, tapped me and she said, Mr [name], you can go. I thank you, Lord. So, I was delighted, what gave me the most pleasure, I thought, those two physiotherapy nurses are going to come in tomorrow thinking, how did he escape Alcatraz, how did he get out. And, that is a true story, in fact, it’s been confirmed because I did speak to the hospital and I did mention it and they said, well, they did come back and say, how did he get out.

Why did they let you go with such low levels, if nothing had changed?

Well, because on my form it said that I was at 92 and, of course, you know and I know, that it says whatever… So, it starts at 92, so it could have read 94, it could have read 95, and it can only drop five per cent, and if you fail that… So, the last test that I did a South African physio girl came in, two ladies, done the test in the morning and I just wasn’t getting anywhere with it. She said, I’ll come back in the afternoon and I’ll give you one more chance, because I just said, I just want to go home.

And, when she came back in the afternoon it was just sat at 89, I knew what it was going to be because I’d been sitting there watching it on the monitor, so I already knew. So, I just knew I wasn’t going home, I’d already said to my wife, I ain’t going anywhere, but I’d already prayed about it and said, Lord, I need to go home, can you get me out of here. So, when the nurse came over and started asking questions at dinner time, and then in the evening came over and tapped me and said, once you’ve got your meds… I said all my medication is already in the locked drawer, the doctor has already said I can go, it’s the physio girls that won’t let me go.

And, as I said, my oxygen levels, it took me about two weeks of getting out of the hospital before they would have been happy. And so, somebody… On my form it said that I had got to 92 and whatever, and it was, like, tick get him out of here, which is what I asked for, thank you, Lord.

 

Emma felt both happy and lost about being discharged early.

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Emma felt both happy and lost about being discharged early.

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From what I can gather, in an ideal world, I probably wouldn’t have been discharged as early as I was, but I was happy to go. I was improving daily, I was managing to be off the oxygen, and they needed the beds, so I’m a realist, I’m not…you know, I wasn’t put in danger from going, I wasn’t…there was nothing bad or anything like that, but I do think if I’d have been in hospital for a bit longer, maybe I might not have felt as…I don’t want to say abandoned, because I don’t think I was abandoned, but lost. I was a bit lost and a bit…I felt really vulnerable being out in the big bad world without a medical professional sitting on my shoulder, checking my obs and checking me every so often.

But if I’d have had something like that sooner instead of three months down the line, would have been lovely, but I do understand there’s only so much the NHS can do, I get that, yeah.

 

After Sadia’s father had come home from hospital, he was unable to move without his blood oxygen saturation levels dropping. He was readmitted to hospital for further support.

After Sadia’s father had come home from hospital, he was unable to move without his blood oxygen saturation levels dropping. He was readmitted to hospital for further support.

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And then, so you mentioned when he was discharged, he was only home for a couple of days, before he went back in?

Yeah.

Yeah, can you say a bit more about that, so how that…?

Yeah, so he was told he was going to be put on the virtual monitoring system, but they didn’t set him up on that, so he didn’t have that. And, interestingly enough on that, and another thing that they did was, obviously his oxygen saturation upon sitting was okay, it was once he started moving that the problem was there. And I said to him, dad, have they been getting you to move without ox…I basically said to them, I said, I do not want him coming home until his oxygen saturation is okay without oxygen for 24 hours. In that, I assumed they’d got him moving, but unfortunately, they hadn’t done anything to kind of, you know, like slowly getting him to walk a little bit, and then check his saturations and then, you know, slowly build up his stamina, they hadn’t done anything of that.

And he remembered on that Sat…it was a Saturday that he was discharged, and he said that the doctor didn’t even come and see him before. So, the doctor hadn’t seen him on the Saturday, they’d just discharged him. And I basically feel it was too, well clearly it was too early. He came home and the physiotherapist, the nurse came to see him on the first day, then the physio came the second day, and it was when the physio, to be fair his oxygen saturation wasn’t good, but he kept on saying, I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m fine.

And a very similar situation happened to my husband, because he was sent home and then we had to take him back in. And my husband was the same, I think, that whole thought of them having to go back in, they were just like, no. But then the physio and the nurse came, and they checked dad, and he was quite bad, and they said to him, you have to go back in.

So, yeah, that’s what happened. But to be fair, he should never have been discharged in the first place, and I don’t know why a doctor didn’t see him. And when I queried that, the hospital said, he has been signed off, someone has seen him, but my dad knows that physically no one had seen him that day. He remembers that clearly.

Michael was offered a transfer to another hospital where he could improve further, but he did not want this. In contrast, Mark was to be discharged home, but insisted on going to a rehabilitation unit instead.

 

Michael did not want to spend any more time in hospital than was strictly necessary.

Michael did not want to spend any more time in hospital than was strictly necessary.

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So, in that respect I think, rather than taking the baby steps I looked more towards taking as many steps as I could at one go. So, because of that probably my stay in the hospital wasn’t as long as at first they thought it would be. Because I remember even must have been at a week or so after I went in the Covid ward they had asked me if I wanted to go to another hospital for more…well, it’s not rehabilitation, but, you know, to get better. And to me that wasn’t something I would have considered doing.

Why not?

I don’t know, I just…after spending four weeks in the hospital I just wanted to go home. I mean I should be more familiar with hospitals because as a child I was very ill and did spend a lot of time in hospitals; so maybe that was stuck in my memory to the point that I didn’t want to spend any longer than I need to.

 

Mark asked to be sent to a rehabilitation unit to regain not just fitness but the ability to care for his elderly mother with dementia.

Mark asked to be sent to a rehabilitation unit to regain not just fitness but the ability to care for his elderly mother with dementia.

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We done some rehab in there to begin with. I progressed quite well, and they wanted to send me home. As far as they’re concerned, we can put in physios at home blah-blah-blah. But I wanted to go to rehab.

So, I suppose there was a bit of a standoff at one stage because I said, you’re not sending me home. Because ordinarily, I am my mum’s carer. My mum has dementia. It’s probably one of the reasons why I actually got Covid because when I now look back, prior to Covid I was probably running on adrenalin. Because my mum had become double-handed, she needed two carers in every session. This particular care agency only had one carer working. So, I’d get up at 6 o’clock in the morning, go over to mum’s, I’d be there at midday, and I’d be there in the evening. Because she now had to be hoisted in and out of bed and she also needed to be fed. And my partner said, but you also used to go back there at night, [name], at 10 o’clock at night because I thought that if you left at 6 or 7, that’s nearly, what, 11 hours that my mum’s on her own before she sees another human being. And [inaudible]. So, I used to pop back there between nearly 10 and 11 at night to give her a cup of tea and a couple of biscuits. And then I was doing that yeah, for at least two to three weeks constantly before I had Covid. So now looking back, yeah, I was drained. Totally drained before I actually caught the disease.

So, I said it’s not a case of me coming home and leaving my property. My mum lives in a three-bedroom house. Yes, I live on a ground floor flat, there’s two little steps for me to go into the back, to the kitchen and the bathroom. However, I need general all-round fitness. So, I suppose I actually changed from normally like quite a compliant person, but I actually said, no, not going home, you’re not sending me home, you’re sending me to rehab. My consultant was very calm, and she said, as far as we’re concerned, [name], you should go to rehab. Whatever you…if you don’t want to go home with physio, that’s fine. I said, I’m looking for all-round fitness, I’m not just looking for fitness and to be able to use the facilities in my home, I’m looking to be…for all-round fitness, I know what I want.

And so, it did mean an extra probably three to four days on a normal ward before a bed came up in a local rehab unit and I was transferred to that.

Emotional encounters when leaving the hospital building: being clapped out and family reunions

Some people were clapped out of hospital by the health care teams who took care of them. These were emotional moments for all – staff, patients and family members alike – and could hold significance more widely. Some hospitals filmed this and uploaded it onto their social media channels or in local newspapers to provide some positive news about Covid.

 

After getting all the necessary equipment ready for Shaun to come home, Deborah went to pick him up. He was clapped out of the ward.

After getting all the necessary equipment ready for Shaun to come home, Deborah went to pick him up. He was clapped out of the ward.

Age at interview: 54
Sex: Female
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So, I think we went into the ward on the Monday, and then on the Thursday, we had all the stuff delivered that we might need, like a wheelchair and a shower chair from the hospital, the occupational therapists, they were very good, they phoned me and said, what would I need? And then I went to pick him up and they clapped him out of the ward, which, I was so emotional, a, I didn’t even press the record button, and I think I dropped my phone on the floor, ‘cause I was just, aah…and then when I saw him, oh my gosh, getting him in the car. He was a bit frightened coming home, obviously, but getting him in the car and all the bumps we were going over, and he was so frail, he’d lost 20 kilogrammes of weight. Yeah, he was skin and bone.

And when we got him home, it was 24/7 looking after him. He was so frail, he couldn’t sit down, he had bedsores, his legs were so, everything, the whole, he looked like a walking skeleton. But, we were just so pleased to have him home. It was hard, because he wanted to progress, but he was so emaciated, there was just no fat on him whatsoever.

 

After nine weeks, the hospital “started to feel a bit like a prison” to Ann. She found being clapped out was very humbling.

After nine weeks, the hospital “started to feel a bit like a prison” to Ann. She found being clapped out was very humbling.

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But at nine weeks I was saying to the doctor, please, I want to go home. Because it started to feel a bit like a prison then, because there was nothing to look at, there was nothing I could do, I couldn’t get up and walk about, because I just didn’t have the energy or the capability of walking very far with the oxygen. Of course, as you walk around with oxygen it uses it up quite significantly and quite fast.

So yeah, so I sort of I went through a period where I was feeling very down and getting upset. And the nurses were very, very good. There was one particular nurse, it was a male nurse, and you always knew when he came on shift because he’d always come in whistling; and he was lovely, really, genuinely cared about what you were thinking, what you were going through and, you know; and many times he used to say, Ann, you know, you don’t realise how much you have fought this, he said, you were just so poorly. He said, you’re our walking miracle, which was very nice of him.

In actual fact he did the video of me when I left, and oh, it was very…it was very humbling, because there was nurses, there was doctors, there was the cleaning staff, all lining from the door coming out to where I was going to go into the ambulance to come home. And they were all there clapping, and it was just lovely.

I’ve got the video of that, and of course I was also in the local newspaper – and I’ve got that – about me being in hospital, and the time I was in, and how I sort of recovered, and sort of praising the staff and that. And yes, that was lovely. Still got them now. But yes, I mean, I wouldn’t wish it on anybody. And I feel a bit angry and sad that some people still think Covid is a bit of a myth and that they won’t have the vaccination. And I just think, if I could stand on a platform and say to everybody what I went through, and that it really isn’t worth risking your life to not be jabbed. Because it really is…I wouldn’t wish it on anybody what I went through. It was a very scary and a very hard thing to go through.

 

Laszlo was clapped out by the staff, who were also his colleagues.

Laszlo was clapped out by the staff, who were also his colleagues.

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So, when I was leaving the hospital after nine days, my line manager decided to invite as many colleagues as possible and to line them up on the corridor so that they would clap me as I’m as I’m leaving. And I told my line manager, “I would like to do something to somehow express my gratitude towards them, to give back a little bit of the big love that I have experienced over these past weeks.” And well, clearly, we have took off the list the option of hugging them or shaking hands with them because clearly, we’re still in lockdown and quarantine. So, I said, “I’m going to do something else. I’m going to.” Oh yeah, that was the other surprise that I was planning to do.

So, they were expecting me to come out in a wheelchair and probably to be rolled through the corridor, everyone clapping and I’m leaving and that’s it. However, I said, because I was strong enough, I said, “I would like to come out in a wheelchair and then surprise them by standing up.” And I stood up from the wheelchair. Everyone was so surprised and then I went to each one of them and saluted them as a sign of gratitude for everything that they have done for me. Clearly, I hadn’t realised that there are going to be more than a hundred people and that corridor was very long. So, I was roughly halfway through, when I thought, okay, maybe I was over-estimating my own energy and power but still it was it was it was very nice to do this gesture and it was it was just amazing to leave the hospital like this.

Several people described how being picked up from hospital was a very emotional moment. It meant they were recovering, and they could see and be close to loved ones again.

 

When Chris was discharged from hospital, seeing his family again was very emotional.

When Chris was discharged from hospital, seeing his family again was very emotional.

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So, you’ve mentioned a bit already, but how did you feel about leaving hospital?

So, I did my walk test, and the doctor said to me, oh, yeah, we’re sending you home. And it didn’t really sink in straightaway, and I said, okay, thank you, bye. And he went, and then went on to the next patient. And then about ten minutes later one of the nurses came up to me and said, are you excited you’re going home? And I thought, it hasn’t really sunk in yet.

And then I phoned my mum, and…I phoned my mum. And I was just talking to her normally, and I said, oh, by the way, Mum, er, are you free in a couple of hours to come and collect me? And she started crying. And I started crying. And she ran and grabbed my dad and said, Chris is allowed to come home. And, yeah, the…so the…they were…the nurses said to get your stuff together, they got my medication sorted from the pharmacy, because I’m on, for 84 days I’ve got to take blood-clotting treatment, I’ve got to inject myself twice daily still, and so they had to get all that for me.

And my mum and dad were able to pick me up two hours later. And they, oh, I did…the problem was that they parked in the car park; and walking only 30 metres to then being expected to walk 300, 400 metres to the other side of the hospital through the car park. So, they actually put me in a wheelchair, wheeled me to the door, and…I was able to hug my mum again, which at one point I didn’t think I could. So yeah, I just burst into tears, she did; and yeah, I just remember hugging my mum and dad for ages.

And then a nurse wheeled me to the car. I managed to get out for the last bit and walk, and just, yeah, just hugged my mum and dad for ten minutes. And then I came home, my sister was waiting, and she burst into tears, I did, and yeah, it was just…thinking that you’re never going to see someone again, to then be able to hold them… Yeah, it was really emotional.

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