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"Lack of information about Dad's diagnosis"

About: Ipswich Hospital / Emergency Department

(as a relative),

My Dad is in high level dementia care in an Ipswich aged care facility. He was sent to the Ipswich Hospital ED after his GP had concerns about a wheeze while he was unwell.

I called the ED to confirm he had arrived safely and was comfortable. The nurse advised that he had arrived and I checked they had contact details for me and my siblings to contact, which was confirmed.

Over the 5 days he was in hospital, requests for information about his diagnosis were met only with vague comments. In one phone conversation I was told details couldn't be provided over the phone. My brother, sister and a niece and nephew requested information from ward staff during visits and got nothing further.

I visited and asked to speak to a doctor and was told doctors were not on the ward so they paged one for me. After 2 hours I needed to leave and as no doctor had arrived, I asked the nurse on duty. I was informed that Dad would be discharged and transported back to the nursing home after his catheter was changed.

There were a couple of delays but the next day he returned to the nursing home. Staff at the home contacted me to let me know he arrived but was still quite unwell with pneumonia, low liver function and a urinary tract infection (UTI) and that his heart medications had been reduced due to concern about their impact on his health.

I am very disappointed about the lack of communication about Dad's diagnosis and condition, as well as no involvement or consultation in decisions. This is a very different experience when he went to the Ipswich Hospital ER about a year ago in cardiac arrest. During that stay we were kept well informed and involved in every step in his medical journey and the doctors gave very helpful information and helped us make decisions in his treatment.

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Response from Sandy Lewis, Senior Consumer Liaison Officer, Clinical Governance, Queensland Health - West Moreton 6 years ago
Sandy Lewis
Senior Consumer Liaison Officer, Clinical Governance,
Queensland Health - West Moreton
Submitted on 1/11/2016 at 2:03 PM
Published on Care Opinion at 2:45 PM

Dear seeking better communication

It can be very stressful for a family when their elderly loved one requires a hospital stay, we are sorry that we let you down at such a difficult time.

At West Moreton we believe that in order to provide the best patient care possible, staff need to engage in open and regular communication with close family members. While there are many challenges around patient confidentiality involved in maintaining a good flow of information between staff and family, we are committed to finding ways to improve in the future.

If you would like to speak with us about your experience, you are welcome to contact the Consumer Liaison Office on 0409 275 503 during business hours or you can email us at

Thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback - we are always grateful when community members let us know what we do well and where we need to improve.

We hope your father is on his way to better health and we wish your family all the best for the future.

Kind regards

Consumer Liaison Office

West Moreton Hospital and Health Service

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