British Lung Foundation
35,996 members43,294 posts

Repeat hospital admissions

Did anyone see that news item on 6pm BBC news regarding a woman returned home from hospital into exactly the same home conditions as before her admission, i.e. filth and unhealthy atmosphere and no fresh air. Apart from the filthy floors, she had a parrot in a cage (surely a health hazard) and no-one had seemed to notice that her home condition could actually be the cause of her problems. She was described as having a chronic lung disease (COPD?). Surely she is being failed by those visiting her if they can't improve her surroundings to make life better. The end of the story did show that the room had been decorated and seriously decluttered but she still had the wretched parrot! Am I missing something?

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Maybe she didn’t want to part with the parrot as it was her only companion. Let’s hope she stays well. Xxxx

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The bird in question was not a parrot, it was/is a cockatiel. I successfully keep 2 "real" parrots, African Greys, with no problem, all it takes is a little thought, ingenuity and management. She obviously lives alone, so her pet is her only companion, one that costs very little to feed I might add, unlike a cat or dog.

Admittedly mine are not in the living area and have their own room complete with a water/mist spray that is operated from outside their room before I enter, to settle any dander. They will also have a good shower before I allow them to interact with me. I have also installed 2 HEPA filters, one is in their room the other is just outside the room. I have no problem keeping them this way. I have had them for 31 years now, they are like our children, no way am I going to "get rid of them" and neither are they wretched.

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Wow 31 years. I had no idea they lived that long. What is the normal life expectancy? I can are see why you would not want to part with them. I am glad you have found a way to be able to keep them where they are not making your condition worse.

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They will probably outlive me! In captivity they can live for between 60 and 80 years, a very long time indeed. Yes, I have gone the extra mile to keep them, but even then I am not allergic to them at all, they are not a problem at all thankfully.

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I never had any idea they lived that long.

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Nice job👍. Mine are teils an I don’t believe any bird I’ve EVER met has been wretched . Not any animals nature. We humans seem to do the most wretched evil behaviors. Thank you SOO much for your post I read it to my husband and he’s decided to buy me a HEPA filter( I’m already breathing better) , thank you for loving and respecting your animals and learning to coexist with dander. I also have learned to live with dander, loose feathers, and dog hair that most would see as uncontrollable and somewhat horrifying and unliveable. I do have a vacuum w/HepA filter and don’t wear much black unless I change in the garage before getting in car.🕊🐥🦅✌️🏄‍♀️🤙

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I can sum it all up in one word, "responsibility". A pet is a commitment for life, not our lives but theirs.

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It's the breakdown of Social Services that is killing the NHS as much as anything. The 'parrot'. is probably her main reason for living!

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It is my understanding that not all pet owners of either the four legged or two legged varieties are allergic to pet dander whether suffering from lung conditions or not. Given that a great number of members on this site seem to be serious animal lovers and have sometimes more than one cat or dog or both and these are companions I would hazard a guess that this is not a huge problem. In the past I have lived with two labradors, two shih tzus, numerous cats (one long haired for 21 years!), numerous guinea pigs, hamsters, budgies, a veritable menagerie but I have never had a problem with allergies. I now live with a working whippet and a miniature dachshund. I wonder where many people would be without their companions.

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You're right Annie31 .

My doctors were so concerned about let dander they did not want me to get a dog. It has been fine for me, though I must add I vacuum every other day and make sure he is well groomed. xx 😀

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Hi Cas, believe me you could vacuum forty times a day with Labradors and still not pick all the hairs up!! It's what has put me off having another one! However, with shih tzus you have the heart and temperament of the lab without the size and shedding, win-win and seriously thinking about getting another!

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Really Annie31 ? I never knew Shi Tzus were of such a calm temperament. I love Labradors. I think they are just so very gorgeous. Not as gorgeous as my Chom of course. 👍😁

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Of course not Cas! Shih Tzus have huge hearts and devotion is their middle name! They adore babies and children, anyone really who will make a fuss of them. Very family orientated. My little girl was threatened by a large dog and our female lost her eye defending her. She could be somewhat of a diva at times! but our male was so laid back he was almost prostrate. I think a lot of it is how you bring them up, a bit like kids! If you overly spoil them they turn into whingeing lap dogs but if you don't do that, they have huge personalities which you wouldn't see otherwise. Wonderful breed!

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How fascinating. 😁 Thank you for the information Annie. Very interesting indeed. xx

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I saw the item too, what concerned me was the fact that a charity, the Red Cross, helped her in the end.

There seems to be more reliance on charities, rather than the State to manage problematic situations. Carers who volunteer their time and the charities that are dependent on donations.

Surely the hospital and social services should have monitored her welfare.

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Social care as we all know has "gone to the dogs"! Now with that in Hunt's remit it will disappear I have no doubt. Half an hour with a client doesn't give anywhere enough time to help with personal hygiene, ensuring meds are being taken etc let alone helping with housework. The people who thought that this could be reduced to 15 minutes were definitely working to an agenda and it certainly wasn't hidden!

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Hello Claudine, I wander why there was no one helping her in any way, no mention of family members, neighbours or friends. As for her parrot, I can understand her keeping him regardless of her serious health issues, as he was probably her only real companion and she loved him. I would do exactly the same. It's like saying to someone who has a cat or dog, oh you shouldn't have him because he's no good for your health. I wander why she didn't have someone coming in to help her.😠

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I worked with someone years ago who suffered double pneumonia as a result of keeping a parrot. I'll never forget that. Yes, there seemed a sad lack of help around her. She had slept sitting up on her sofa for 3 years because she couldn't get upstairs. I think the Red Cross is limited mainly to first aid more than anything else. I doubt they knew much about lung conditions. Ignorance all round really.

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It might’ve been “bird fancier’s lung” ie hypersensitivity pneumonitis. I lived with my grandfather as a child, he kept birds in a large aviary. I’ve wondered whether my childhood lung problems were partly caused by playing next to it. I had pneumonia twice as a child. I avoid birds like seagulls & pigeons, as they are scavengers and you just never know what they’re carrying. I like them but feel it’s best to be careful.

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Agreed. If it was the reason for repeated admissions to hospital, then someone needs to tell her. It's all very well saying she probably needed the company of the bird, but what happens to it when she's in hospital? And it isn't the bird who calls an ambulance after all. I gather it sounds harsh but it's being realistic. One has to accept the limitations involved in having a lung disease/condition. I have a distant relative who, as a child of 4, had one lung removed because of bronchiectasis. Thank God we are more enlightened now.

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I agree with you there Hanne62, l had to rehome our 3 budgies 15yrs ago....

But not our dog, she had her hair kept short to help my chest. As a Whippet/Lurcher cross, this suited her well and we bought or made jumpers/coats for her.... she even had a wax jacket for wear in the rain! 😅

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I do believe it. Around 7 years ago now my mother had a fall at home. She lived on her own and relied on us daughters helping out. We cooked meals, cleaned and visited her every day. She had a fall and lay on the floor all night. She had an alarm system round her neck but she said she never thought of pressing it!

She ended up in hospital for 3 weeks where they kept trying to transfer her to cottage hospitals which we put a firm stop to. Then we found out with a few hours notice that they were discharging her without letting us know and without a care package in place.

We went ballistic and organised for her to get funding to go into a care home. Without us though she would have been sent home possibly to die on her own. It is horrendous what they do these days. x

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You wouldn’t even believe how bad it’s gotten in the US of A . Many of the elderly who don’t own a home or have family end up homeless living in the streets til they just get sick and die

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That's awful Sandy. It will always be the case I'm afraid while the USA sees having a home and access to healthcare as a 'choice' rather than a basic right. x

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Hi Bev, I rather think that is rapidly applying to this country as well, on both issues sadly.

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There was an incidence not too long ago where an elderly lady was evicted, nearly 90 years old, into the street. I can't remember why but if it hadn't been brought to the public's attention by the media goodness only knows what would have happened to her.

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I fear you are right Annie x

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Hi hypercat, I had to fight hard and long to get my mother any help.....I was lucky in that I had access to a computer, the Internet and a phone. It would have been impossible without.

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That's what happened to us this Christmas. They chuck them out home with no home visit before and no plans in place to manage people's needs. You have to really self advocate these days or suffer at the hands of an ill funded health and social care economy.

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Yes, it’s dreadful when the total lack of coordination between NHS & social services results in a charity having to advocate for vulnerable people. I agree parrots can be a real health hazard for those with lung conditions, but as others have said, it probably gave the lady some desperately needed company.

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I noticed Hanne, that the UK government donated money to the Red Cross in 2015. Ok the charity do good work, they provided support equipment to my neighbour after she fell, for example......but they also have paid staff.

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The part I believe you’re “missing” is that she at one time loved , what you refer to as wretched. Animals have SAVED MY LIFE on more than one occasion! I agree someone should try to help her w/living conditions but it’s certainly not the poor birds fault. As someone who lives with an 87 y/o hoarder I can attest that it’s not as easy as it seems to go in and rid their home of the clutter and filth. I have brought my father to tears, literally tears bringing in trash cans and and throwing trash. It’s something that happened to him because he was poor as a child, and living thru depressions and wars . But it has gotten much worse with his age and somewhat demented state of mind. Now he won’t even attempt to throw even a candy wrapper away. Just throws it on the floor. And no matter how patient or thourough of explanation I give on why we keep house clean, throw trash out, shower daily or any of those types of things he just doesn’t get it or care to. It’s very possible the woman you’re speaking of is same or similar perhaps not having children that can try reasoning with her. FYI I have 3 birds that whistle to call the dogs if there comes a stranger onto the property and provide fascinating entertainment to anyone feeling low and they give soft gentle kisses, perhaps you might meet a nice bird , or ANY creature someday that touches your heart . Try to love and not hate✌️

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Hello Sandyeggo, you speak my language, THANKYOU !!, our pets come into our lives demanding nothing, just needing basic requirements love, food and security. So when we become poorly at sometime in our lives, they just love us unconditionally and without question. I know the care in the NHS is not what it was there's no doubt about it, but in my opinion no one should turn their back on their special best friend whether it's a parrot or pony, we love them . I am sorry for your dad bless him, life must be extremely difficult for you and I hope somehow life will get easier. Take care and thanks again ✋️😊

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I really find it so annoying when outsiders make decisions on how others should live their lives and this seems to be becoming more and more common partly thanks to the internet.

I did not see the news item but you mention " those visiting her ". Who was visiting her? I have severe COPD and apart from my husband, an occasional visit from my sister and an annual visit from my brother, these are the only people who enter my house. Maybe this lady was in the same position.

I have mentioned the deplorable state of my house on more than one occasion to my GP and practice nurse but apart from a vague " maybe you could get more help " , that is the sum total of assistance.

Last December before my brother's annual visit, I was forced to employ a cleaner because the situation was way beyond tolerable especially as he was bringing a young child with him. The cleaner is expensive but ok apart from her tendency to consider that odd scraps of paper are rubbish and throwing them out without consultation. Sometimes these scraps of paper have vital information on them and at the very least I think I should be consulted before they are binned.

As for the parrot, I would imagine it is very probably her main companion as well as being her motivation for getting up in the morning, so rather than being a health hazard, it is actually vital to her keeping going at all.

It is extremely difficult to clear clutter when you are struggling to breathe at all. You know what has to be done but because everything takes so much effort and time, you are unable to make much impact in the time available.

Sorry for going on so much but this struck a chord with me.

I am glad that the lady is now getting some kind of help and hope it continues.

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How I can relate to what you say. I also have severe COPD the days I can do anything are very few and far between. I work hard at ignoring the dirty windows etc it is so depressing not being able to do your own housework. I only once paid a cleaner and that left me more depressed chin up.

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Yes and on those increasingly rare days when we can do something, we do too much and that sets us back again. So depressing.

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That is exactly were I am at the moment, Monday I managed a bit of shopping (very slowly with my trolley) and 2 small loads of washing. Tuesday bit of hovering with my very light Dyson and my kitchen floor with a steamer. have spent the rest of the week totally fatigued more of a cough and more phlegm. Still trying to decide if I can manage a bit more shopping today. As you say very depressing. Take care

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I had to give up my birds as they are bad for people with lung problems .Maybe thats her only company .

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Yes, but my point was the item on TV was about repeated admissions to hospital and so if the bird was the cause of her admissions each time then someone needs to tell her. The bird could be killing her.

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I totally agree although i understand it might have been her companion but is it worth a life .x

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It's like saying the children are grown up now do we really need them. The answer is my grown up cat is my companion and no matter what mood I'm in, there he is ready for a cuddle. I am not allergic to him but even if I was, he stays with me no matter what, he's my child and just as important as our grown up sons. Family is the most important thing to me. So I've decided " keep my cat and ditch the hubby lol, as if the kitchen needs painting lol. 👀

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Did anyone say it was the cause of her admissions? I didn't see the item but I do know that not all lung sufferers are allergic to birds; sounds more likely that the poor woman is yet another victim of the cuts in Social Services budgets.

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I watched it and I can't remember any mention of the bird in a derogatory manner

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I had my beautiful boy for 35.&1/2 years. He was so fastidious and even house trained . Apart from his cage in the lounge there was no trace of him anywhere else in our property .....He was out of his cage or his door open most of the time . At night was happy to tell us when he was ready for sleep and the door be closed. When the vet could not save him we were heart broken .

I take exception to your attitude regarding this parrot .Do you consider the same applies to cats and dogs who are loving companions to elderly folk and younger families.

This lady needs help and a little compassion wouldn't come amiss.

Jo.

Ps......He was with us for 29 years before I was diagnosed with COPD ......

I spent a time working in my husband's glasshouse nursery and it is considered the peat was the cause.

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Jo, as I said previously, pet dander is not a trigger for all people whether suffering with a lung condition or not. I believe, as you seem to, it is wrong to make assumptions about things like this and I am willing to bet that that birds cage was the cleanest thing in the old lady's house! If it wasn't cared for properly that bird would have been illl itself or it would have been removed when she finally did get some help!

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Social Services should have made sure the house was cleaned & there was help daily. trouble with today everything is down to money surely if no family a charity or neighbours could help

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Sadly, I think care in the community is a thing of the past in the main. People are working so hard just to survive themselves these days, parents with younger children mostly they both have to work to pay the bills and have a job to cope with their parental duties alongside housework so have no time, and very little energy I would think, to help out neighbours with their chores. We are surrounded by neighbours of all ages and responsibilities and they all work full time, there is no one around during the day. I dont be!ieve people are uncaring these days i Just think they are worn out trying to survive!

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I have to agree with you Annie31, back in the sixties when I was growing up, my dad worked and mum was at home looking after my brother and me. A part of me still thinks that's how it should be but then I think how difficult things are today especially for young couples with kids they have no choice but for parents both going to work. And when you think about everything the NHS, and care in the community it is totally different.

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With you there stumpy!

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Thankyou Annie, ✋️😊

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Hi Claudine, that woman made me think about my Mum who will pretty much say anything to get out of hospital, you would think that she gets tortured there whereas it is actually a very good hospital with terrific staff. Unfortunately however there Can also be a distinct lack of ‘professional curiosity ‘ by professionals, more a ‘not my problem; she told me she lives in a palace’ attitude.

Regards

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A good social care and health system go together. Hopefully, one day people will realise that we need a better world for all, with care and consideration for all.

Some elderly people or mentally ill people are not able to take care of themselves properly, we, as a people, as a State, have a duty of care.

The parrot you are talking about is her pet as well as a symbol of loneliness and desolation.

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I have around 34% lung capacity and i have 2 cats that cause no issues as i am aware of how to avoid the issues so ppl really need to research instead of just assuming our pets are issues i would never give up my pets they are my sanity i was deserted by all humans who said they loved me and have cried millions of tears and my cats are right there always to love me

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