"Duty of care for mentally unwell patient"

About: Bunbury Hospital Busselton Health Campus

(as a staff member posting for a carer/relative),

I am writing on behalf of my client who is under Carers Support.

On Friday 20th July my client's son was collected from his home by police after a call from her in accordance with his crisis plan of which was written up by Busselton Community Mental Health.

He was taken to the emergency department at Busselton Hospital at 5.45pm and dropped off at the front of the building. He was not received by any staff from the ED and was told that they were too busy and to wait outside, it was a stormy evening on this particular day.  He became confused and disorientated and began to walk home in the rain.

His mother after making a call to the ED at 7.46pm and realizing that he had not been admitted became very concerned for his well-being and at 8pm left in her car with her daughter-in-law to find her son. They found him soon after almost nearly home and soaking wet and very upset and distressed from his experience. My client spent most of the night trying to comfort, settle and reassure her son.

There had been no communication from anyone to my client with regards to her son's situation.

The following week on Tuesday 23rd July my client's son had again become unwell and was asking for help and again the police were called as per the crisis plan and came to the home. My client's son was at this time becoming panicked and aggressive and after lashing out an an officer was restrained to the ground. My client was extremely upset witnessing her son in this situation.

He was transferred to the ED at Bunbury Hospital where he spent the next 44 hours in the room near the entry opposite the nurses station and near the ambulance arrival point, which is a high traffic, noisy area reserved for mental health patients, he had two security guards in the front of his room and he only had the clothes he was wearing.

Despite having private health cover he was not attended to and admitted to the Acute Psychiatric Unit (APU) as he was told that there were not beds available. During this time my client was still not receiving any communication as to her son's current situation.

Eventually a complaint was made by Mental Health Advocacy Service WA on site and the hospital then proceeded to admit him to the APU. My client only received this information via her son's Psych Nurse from Busselton Mental Health and not from Bunbury directly.

These two incidents have been very difficult for my client and she has stated feeling very disheartened by the system and upset for her son that he had to endure that distress. She stated that she was upset and worried that no one cared about his wellbeing.

These two episodes are a recurring theme in this family's life. There has been a continuation of poor mental health treatment through the system repeatedly despite the family liaising with a high level of mental health services on previous occasions. My client would like some resolve in this matter as soon as possible.


Response from David Balakrishnan, Clinical Coordinator / Clinical Nurse Specialist, Bunbury Hospital (South West Mental Health Service), WACHS - South West nearly 2 years ago
David Balakrishnan
Clinical Coordinator / Clinical Nurse Specialist, Bunbury Hospital (South West Mental Health Service),
WACHS - South West
Submitted on 28/08/2018 at 12:21
Published on Care Opinion at 12:26

Dear Sunflower

Thank you for your feedback via Patient Opinion on behalf of your client. I acknowledge receipt of your correspondence.

I would like to invite the family to contact me on at 9781 2312 or via email david.balakrishnan@health.wa.gov.au to allow me to gather more information in relation to your feedback. All discussions related to your concerns will be treated in a confidential manner and accessed only by staff directly involved in investigating your concerns.

WA Country Health Service is always striving to improve its services and I thank you for bringing this matter to my attention.

Thank you once again.

David Balakrishnan

A/Regional Manager Mental Health

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful

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