Cancer Patient being sent home with no home adaptions

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  1. My mum went into hospital via A&E for serve sciatica on 14th May, on 15th we were told she had bone cancer(they indicated it was metastasis), the following day the found the primary cancer in the lung.

The bone cancer is on a vertebra and has since shattered the vertebra and caused cauda equina (root nerve compression), causing significant pain and very little mobility, We have just had 4 weeks trying to get on top of pain relief to be told my mum would be better in a hospice as they will be better placed to get on top of the pain. Before the hospice was arranged, mum had 4 good days, they then told my mum today she will be sent home on Monday (3 days notice). 

They previously promised me they would not rush sending my mum home and would work with the occupational therapist (and the family) to get everything in place/sort the house etc. Because of the pain, my mum can’t sleep in a bed, we don’t have a suitable chair for my mum to sleep in, she can barely walk but has no stair lift and she won’t be able to get in/out of the bath.

Surely there should be more consideration before deciding to send my mum home. Is there a process they follow?

I was supposed to be consulted but the occupational therapist but they spoke with my mum and told her the news, she goes along with what they suggest and to be honest has not considered what going home will mean.

Is this a normal process, should a home assessment not be done?Any advice would be very welcome as this is really stressing the family.

many thanks 


  • Hi Jan

    Thank you for reaching out to the online community at what sounds a very difficult time for your family.

    My name is Sarah one of the nurses on the Macmillan support line and although we don’t offer replies at the weekend, we felt it was important to reach out.

    I am sorry to read that your mum has been diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer which is causing her significant pain.

    It sounds like they were able to manage your mum’s pain before discharge but have not put adequate support in place. As set out in the government guidelines, no person should be discharged until it is safe to do so.

    Planning for discharge should start on admission. Discussions with the patient’s family about their involvement, what equipment they will need and what caring support needs to be put in place. For instance, if someone is being discharged home and cannot manage upstairs then the downstairs would need to be assessed and equipment in place. Equipment such as a hospital bed, commode to enable a person to manage their care needs and if required carers to attend to enable them to do so.

    Each hospital has its own discharge policy, you can ask for a copy from the ward or through the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). We have information here about what support should be in place on discharge.

    Now your mum is home, you can call NHS 111 for help to manage your mum’s pain or care needs over the weekend. On Monday you will need to call your mum’s GP for support to get equipment in place urgently.  

    Sadly, we are hearing more and more stories like this, due to increased pressure on the NHS. You may find it helpful Jan to call to speak with one of our nurses. Our phone lines and chat service are open from 8am to 8pm 7 days a week.

    I hope this is helpful and that your mum gets the support she needs to manage her pain and to remain at home. Please feel free to get back in touch if you want more information or support.

    Best wishes,


    Cancer Information Nurse Specialist 

    Ref: KDf/SS

    Sarah S-Macmillan Cancer Information Nurse Specialist