"Safe and supportive environment for anaphylaxis patient"
About: Royal Perth Hospital / Emergency Department Royal Perth Hospital Emergency Department Perth 6000
Posted by What about the patient (as ),
I went to visit my parent on a weekend and she had just been on the phone seeking advice from Health Direct. They had been to a café in the afternoon with friends and began to have an allergic reaction. It didn't settle with antihistamines, so they rang Health Direct, who strongly advised them to attend an Emergency Department.
My parent was ambivalent (they are stoic and didn't want to be a bother or create unnecessary fuss). By that time, they were visibly red and puffy in the face, said they itched all over, and their throat felt like they had swallowed glass shards. They were talking about attending an after hours GP service.
I used the Emergency Department Activity Now link to see what the waiting times were at the two closest hospitals, and persuaded my parent to let me drive them in.
The staff were so good, the triage nurse was calm and courteous and reassured my parent that they had done exactly the right thing by coming in. The clerk gave me advice about where to park for a longer time (I had used one of the short term bays immediately outside so that my parent wouldn't have to walk too far). We were both given guidance about what to expect and when I was called in after they had undertaken their preliminary assessment, my parent was calm and had a good understanding of their condition and the treatment plan.
They were later moved to an observation unit, where the nursing staff were friendly and professional and helped guide me so I could find something to eat (we ended up being at the hospital from just after 5 pm to midnight). When I asked the nursing staff about intermittent changes in my parent's heart rate that worried me (it was speeding up then slowing down again), they took my concern seriously even though their heart monitor seemed normal at the time. The nurse assigned to my parent took the time to observe, checked all the leads and contacts, consulted colleagues, ran extra tests, and it was confirmed my parent was experiencing intermittent atrial fibrillation. I feel so grateful to them for taking such good care of my parent. Even though we were there for hours, it felt like a safe and supportive environment and I came away feeling that they had benefitted from excellent care.