"Hospital Opinion Story"

About: Geraldton Hospital

(as the patient),

I had collapsed at home, a second time and my husband took me straight to the hospital at about 7.30am. The initial assessment and registration was not drawn out and there was only a short wait before I was taken into A&E. I was examined by the doctor and several tests including chest x-ray and blood tests were taken.

I was taken to ward 23 some time around 12 md or 1 pm then I was interviewed and assessed by the Registrar (I had never had such a thorough medical examination in my life before). I then went for a brain scan.

All staff, doctors and nurses treated me as a human being and as a patient needing help. All staff, doctors, nursing staff, pathology and x-ray staff introduced themselves and explained what was happening.

I was alone in the three bed ward for a while then another patient, was admitted and was in a lot of pain. We were able to introduce ourselves. I was missing a toothbrush and she surprised me by arranging for her husband to bring one in for me. It was a kind gesture and I immediately went to the bathroom to clean my teeth. I then with little warning collapsed. I learned later that my roommate heard me fall and immediately rang for help. The first I next knew was the Registrar and a number of staff were around me doing what had to be done, then I was taken to Ward 3 and cannulas and a drip were established and my electrolytes were being replaced and there were still several staff around me ensuring that I was aware of what was happening. With all the leads, etc. anchoring me to the bed and them explaining and reassuring me every step of the way.

Amazingly throughout the whole day and through to about 12 mn I was very calm and relaxed - which quite amazed me. Yes, the staff were all top notch. For some unknown reason I was transferred from ward 3 to the A& E for a few hours and I had a lovely Sister from Halls Creek there. She was very good and we chatted a lot about the Kimberleys as I had spent a fair few years there myself. I was curtained off from the main area - nevertheless I found it very noisy as they were obviously busy with many very sick patients there. So this was my third night of no sleep. Though the Sister tried to give me some time between half hourly observations and hourly blood tests to try to sleep, it didn't happen.

I was returned to Ward 3 before day break. The staff were all very kind and helpful especially in the bathroom and would never let me go alone carrying my urine bag and supporting me where necessary in case I fell again. Then another day in bed. Meals came and were massive. I was not sure how they had been ordered, but I was not that hungry despite not having eaten since breakfast on Sunday. It was that it was such a waste that upset me.

Things seemed to be going well, though I don't remember how the electrolytes were going as eventually on the Monday it was agreed by the medical staff that the endoscopy and colonoscopy booked for Wednesday should be postponed and they contacted the relevant doctors to let them know on the Tuesday (Monday being a Holiday).

I was tethered to the bed with the monitor leads, etc. and was only mobile between the bed and the bathroom. I was desperate to go for a walk as I had severe wind pains at one stage. It was difficult for the staff as the ward was full and they were busy. I was eventually taken in a wheelchair by a kind trainee nurse to ward 23 to give my thanks to the patient who had buzzed the nurses and hear her side of the story. She was good and responded very quickly for which I will be for ever grateful. Unfortunately I lost track of her after that as I didn't think to ask her for her details at that time.

I still had large meals and asked what could be done about them and I was given a menu to complete the next day. I did get it mixed up and the large meal still came. I then Iearnt to be more careful to fill in the menu and ensure that I ticked the right boxes - my brain must have still been a bit squiffy.

I think it was the Tuesday afternoon I was suddenly whisked away to ward 2 free of all my anchors except the catheter. That was good as I could be free to walk to the bathroom. I asked if I could go for a walk around but the Sister had obviously had strict instructions that I needed an escort - she was kind enough to find a little space in her busy time to take me for a short walk around the wards. What a rabbit warren! Again the staff were lovely and kept my medications up to me on time explaining what they were.

Then again out of the blue on the Wednesday I was whisked away to another ward - the day surgery ward. Obviously the hospital was full (overflowing) and space had to be found. A pity, as I was getting to know the other patients there. However, I found that I was free to wander where I liked! That was great and it helped the wind pains free up. I asked my husband to help me down the stairs which felt good. After that, with care I was confident to negotiate them myself and to spend time in the sunshine to boost my vitamin D! The next day, I found the steps in the courtyard and manage to get more exercise there. Though I had been told that I could go home on the Thursday, my sodium levels had not risen enough, so I had to stay another night and wait till the sodium was at a higher level. So Friday, I went home.

I cannot say enough how wonderful all the staff were throughout. There was only one doctor who I felt had no bedside manner at all. He did not seem to know how to introduce himself, nor did he explain what he was prescribing - he left it to the nurse. I am afraid I probably hurt his feelings when I refused to follow his instructions which to me didn't make sense. Things settled down and my decision was accepted by another doctor when I explained what and why I did what I did.

I can only give the full medical and allied services a full commendation for their team work and good care. This had been much the reverse over recent years when I have supported friends particularly, one dear friend suffering seriously and had been incapacitated for many years. I believe she was badly treated by medical staff and the fact that there was no private ward available for her which was so badly needed for her at the time. I as a friend, was not able to make demands or point out many things that were missed in her treatment and I believe some horrific things that were done to her without introduction or proper explanation.

So I am happy to say that I only had a good experience from all the hospital staff. I will criticise the hospital capacity over all as I am sure is something that you have had since this hospital was built. Adding to my gripe that has been close to my heart since before this hospital was built - no proper facilities for mental health patients. I know this is not your area it is the politicians who I believe don't know or care. But it is imperative that the empty words are replace with action for an even better more holistic service for our region. More space for more beds and the correct staff numbers to cover this. I know of many local people training in the nursing profession here in Geraldton.

The design of the bathrooms need to be re-accessed as it was OK when I was being supervised and assisted, but when I was on my own water went everywhere and was dangerous when unsteady on my feet. Nowhere to put clean clothes to keep dry. In my opinion, ask a woman to design these spaces in future! When the hospital has more private room capacity for those with private cover the hospital will earn more money! There are two patients I know that would have used that facility had there been a room vacant at the time.

I must not forget that I noticed how diligent the cleaning staff were too. Especially on ward 3, as they were constantly keeping the floors, etc. cleaning and using their common sense with other small things. Maybe minor things to some, but much appreciated.Thank you for this opportunity. 

To reflect - though I felt like moving mountains after my discharge, I soon found that I had to take it steady. As my capacity is returning to "normal" energy, muscle, power and even brain activity, all of which was diminishing over the past 4/5 years or so. I retrospectively I have always put this down to the ageing process and so have the doctors I have seen along the way. Now I know I can enjoy a slower ageing process and will be taking care of myself with diet, afternoon rests/sleeps for a while and monitoring what I do so that I do not push myself too far. Most things can wait until I have the time and the capacity.


Response from Michele Young, Coordinator Executive Services, Executive Services, WACHS-Midwest 2 years ago
Michele Young
Coordinator Executive Services, Executive Services,
Submitted on 03/04/2018 at 15:01
Published on Care Opinion at 15:10

picture of Michele Young

Dear hawkgr49

Thank you for sharing your feedback regarding your experience while at the Geraldton Hospital especially in light of what has been an extremely stressful time for you being so unwell.

Firstly I am delighted to hear that your experience with the team at Geraldton Hospital has been compassionate, respectful and consumer led. Our staff strive to provide patient centred care and it is feedback such as yours that reinforces what we are doing well. I have passed on your feedback to the Geraldton Hospital Operations Manager, who is pleased to read your comments and has asked me to convey his thanks to you. Feedback like yours will provide a real lift for our dedicated and caring staff who are committed to delivering the best care possible. We will ensure that the staff involved in your care receive your praise and thanks; I'm sure they will be thrilled to receive such glowing compliments.

WA Country Health Service (WACHS) values all feedback and has established District Health Advisory Councils (DHACs) to learn from and improve the health care experiences of our communities. DHACs are made up of local health consumer, carers, and community members, as well as health service representatives, who work together with WACHS to improve and inform health service planning, access, safety and quality in their area. DHAC members talk with local community members, carers, and community groups to find out what health issues and services matter to them. They meet regularly to represent and discuss these issues, and share ideas for improving health services. They also partner with the local health service in improvement activities and promote health information and services to the community. WACHS are always looking for people like yourself and in reading your story I thought this group might be one that you may be interested in joining. I would be happy to discuss and provide you with further information.

WACHS Midwest participates in the “Hello my name is” campaign which was started by a UK doctor Kate Granger to encourage and remind healthcare staff about the importance of introductions in healthcare. Introductions are about making a human connection between one human being who is suffering and vulnerable, and another who is there to help. This is the start of a therapeutic relationship which can instantly build trust in difficult circumstances, so it was disappointing to hear of your experience relating to one of our team that did not introduce themselves. I will pass your feedback on to the Regional Medical Director to discuss with his team and reinforce the importance of introductions.

There are some aspects of your care we would like to explore further to see where we can improve and to this we require some additional details. We would be grateful if you could contact us directly. The contact details for Derek Fraser Geraldton Hospital Operations Manager are 9956 2369 or Derek.Fraser@health.wa.gov.au or alternately you can contact me on 9956 8695 or michele.young@health.wa.gov.au. Your call would be very welcome and can still be addressed anonymously if you wish. We will of course respect your decision should you choose not to make contact and if this is the case we will have general discussions with staff about your experience and how we may improve.

Thank you again for taking the time to write we really appreciate it. Please take the time to heal – rest, relax and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best wishes


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