Terminally ill resident

(as a relative),


This story may lead to a change

About: Denmark Health Service

Our grandparent was a resident at the Blue Wren nursing home, attached to the Denmark Health Service. We had been informed that they were now at the end stage of their life. They had been connected to a Niki pump for pain, taking nothing orally in the way of fluids and only responsive when turning. 

We were informed by all staff members that we were welcome to stay as needed. Entering into the third night the nurse manager who we had never met before informed us that only one person was permitted to stay overnight. Up to date three had been staying offering support and caring for our grandparent.

This was the first time any of us had heard of such restrictions on a terminally ill patient. We were taken back by the nurse manager's comments, frustrated and angered as we all knew that our grandparent would want us by their side at this time in their life.

The nurse manager showed a complete lack of empathy and knowledge of my grandparent in delivering such restrictions, placing undue stress on all concerned. Our grandparent passed away that night.

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Responses to this story

Response from Julie Hollingworth, Director of Nursing/Health Service Manager, Denmark and Plantagenet Health Services, WACHS GS We are preparing to make a change

Dear sierrakk36

Thank you very much for taking the time to share your experience and those of your family members at the end of your Grandparent’s life. Please accept our sincere condolences on the passing of your Grandparent. As you know Blue Wren Lodge is a small aged care facility attached to the Denmark Health Service and the passing of a resident affects us all.

I am very sorry that you had this experience at such a poignant time and I, and the nurse manager concerned apologises unreservedly. There is no policy in Blue Wren Lodge to restrict visitors to a Resident at the end of their life and we will ensure that all staff are aware of this as well as the feedback you have provided. We very much view feedback from our patients, residents and their family members as an opportunity to improve our practice.

We have discussed the issues that you raised, specifically the impression given of a lack of empathy and knowledge of your Grandparent. The nurse manager concerned acknowledges the impact that this had on you and your other family members. Sometimes we, as health care professionals, may appear to lack empathy when delivering critical or difficult information, your feedback provides us with an opportunity to reflect on our practice and look to ways to improve.

If you would like to discuss this in more detail please do not hesitate to call me, Julie Hollingworth, on 9848 0600.

With best wishes to you and your family members.

Julie Hollingworth

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Update posted by sierrakk36 (a relative)

Thanks for your reply. I would like to point out that the nurse managers lead the care efforts on their wards. I believe they implement policies and ensure staff are educated in the standards of care.

I would like to know that if it is not policy for only one person to stay overnight why then did the staff member take it upon themselves to implement something that does not exist and frankly should not exist. It is these actions that need to be addressed.

I believe the nurse manager embodies the vision, mission and values of the unit. Knowing this, one would question the direction that Blue Wren lodge/Denmark Health Campus is heading.

Response from Marie Baxter, Regional Director, WA Country Health Service Great Southern We are preparing to make a change

Dear sierrakk36,

My name is Marie Baxter and I am currently the Regional Director in the WA Country Health Service Great Southern. You clearly have more questions and concerns that we would like to respond to. May I suggest that we meet at a time and place of your choosing so we can discuss your concerns further. Please bring any other family members who may have questions as well. You can contact me on 09 9892 2672.

With best wishes to you and your family

Marie Baxter

Regional Director

WACHS Great Southern

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