An article in Melbourne’s Herald Sun highlights an increasing challenge for Australian hospitals over the holidays, granny dumping.  Granny dumping is the practice of “dumping” an elderly relative in a hospital emergency room while their relatives or caregivers go on vacation during the holidays.  The article quotes the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine’s Dr David Eddey as saying that “emergency departments typically received about two cases of granny dumping each year.” He adds that “often [the elderly] stay in an emergency department for a while, or a short-stay bed.”

In the article, Local hospital workers shed light on the problem by sharing stories of recent cases of thix phenomenon. One worker said that “a woman in her 70s was ushered into the Northern Hospital’s emergency department by ambulance last Monday after she struggled to stand after sitting on a low-set toilet”.  He noted that “physically there was nothing wrong with her,” but that “relatives told staff they “couldn’t cope” and suggested she stay in hospital for three weeks.”  In another case, a woman was admitted to the hospital’s “general ward for eight weeks” while the family took a beach vacation, “leaving their neighbour to field phone calls from hospital staff.”

The article highlights not only that granny dumping can be insensitive towards elderly relatives, but that hospitals then needed to provide services to patients that are healthy,rather than patients needing urgent care.

What challenges are prevalent in your country over the holidays? Have you observed a similar phenomenon?  Share your thoughts with IAHSA.

The read the full article, click here.