Hospital Hotel

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Darcy Bux is stuck in limbo. His home for the past 250 days is a private room at the Royal Adelaide Hospital... all paid for by taxpayers... except for that flat screen tv he bought to save 60 dollars a week in rental.

What do you do to spend the time?

“Nothing”.

Nothing, just a tv… do you go outside?

“Go outside and have a cigarette,” says Darcy.

But you've been a long term patient here?

“I've been here for ages… I want to be like anyone else and pay for it as rent,” says Darcy.

That's what you want?

That’s right. I just want to be out of the hospital. Off this guardianship thing that restricts me from everything. I'm not allowed to leave North Terrace otherwise police will get called to bring me back across the road.

Should you be in hospital?

“No”.

Where should you be do you think?

“In a house, in a unit with somewhere else for my son to come and spend some time with me and give his mum a break and give me a fresh start. I'm like 40 years old and I feel like I'm 80,” says Darcy.

It's costing one thousand dollars a day to keep him but here's the catch... Darcy isn't sick.

“I see people come and go. They're gone home and a few months later they come back for other treatment and they're like, 'are you still here?... Yeah I'm still here, and then they're like, what's wrong with you?… It's like nothing's wrong with me,” says Darcy.

He's just one of dozens stranded in acute hospital beds while the government works out where to put them in supported accommodation.

“They all believe I shouldn't be here too. They can't figure it out for the life of them. They can't figure out why I'm still here,” says Darcy.

All this at a time when our hospital system is bulging at the seams with patients forced to wait for a bed in emergency even Darcy feels guilty.

“I ask doctors and everybody what's going on and when am I going home? When can I go? When can I leave? They say don't whinge there's people out there living on the street. I'd sooner go live on the street and give the bed to someone who needs it,” says Darcy.

Darcy says he can't complain about the service he gets from nursing staff although he does have manageable health issues and can be difficult.

Are you aggressive?

“Well I can be because I'm stranded here. Things get the better of me sometimes but I'm not aggressive enough to harm someone,” says Darcy.

Are you dangerous for the staff or the patients in there?

“Not at all. I treat the nurses with respect and if I do go off my head or blow my lid I do turn around and sort of say well sorry about last night I was upset and they're like we know where you're coming from because they know about this situation,” says Darcy.

But the situation is driving him up the wall and on several occasions the hospital's code black security guards have been called in after returning to his room under the influence of alcohol.

“Because if they think that you're aggressive to harm staff or yourself but they're meant to not be so rough and rumble but with me they love me. They just think great we've got Darcy again you know and I woke up one day and I was smothered in bruises and that around my ankles and arms,” says Darcy.

So you were actually tied to the bed Darcy?

The public advocate Dr. John Brayley says Darcy has fallen through the cracks... being found not eligible for a number of services for which he had been assessed and his office has been in contact with Disabilities Minister Tony Piccolo and Anglicare seeking assistance.

Being in here you just won't get that recognition. I don't know… you're just a number,” says Darcy.

And you shouldn't be here should you?

“No”.

Tony Piccolo's office told us Darcy's needs were complex but has now been accepted by the exceptional needs unit within Disability SA. His department is working with Anglicare to house him and he's likely to leave in coming weeks.

Could you look after yourself Darcy?

“Yes, very well. I raised my family. I cooked and cleaned and worked and did everything with my family. I'm quite capable of it,” explains Darcy.

And all he wants is for someone to make a decision.

“I get a bit narky but you can't blame me I mean shouldn't be. I do get narky I must admit but it's only because I'm here for so long for no reason,” says Darcy.

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