Poor treatment of patient

(as a relative),

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About: Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital / Emergency Department

My parent was at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (SCGH) for chronic pain and a herniated disc. I felt the registrar at the emergency department (ED) that was looking at my parent was extremely rude, definitely talked in a condescending tone to my parent about the pain and how it must be difficult for them. You could clearly see that my parent was in extreme pain and yet the registrar asked if my parent could walk and that they may be sent home with nothing more than simple pain meds when they have proven to not work on my parent's pain.

The registrar was also talking loudly about how they couldn't wait to go on their break and about cupcakes lasting more than 3 days when there were, I felt, clearly other patients that had not yet been seen that were, I believe, in pain. This would not help the patients feel that they are going to be taken care of well.

The nurses, on the other hand, were amazing and they had no faults at all.

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Response from Janet Zagari, A/Executive Director, Sir Charles Gairdner Osborne Park Health Care Group

picture of Janet Zagari

Dear lavender,

Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns regarding your parents’ recent experience in the ED at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (SCGH). I was very sorry to read that you felt that doctor caring for your parent was rude and condescending as I am sure that was not their intent. Our medical team are encouraged to be empathetic and acknowledge the difficulties patients are experiencing rather than focusing on the presenting condition. It must have been a stressful experience for you to bring your parent into ED and I regret that you were left feeling so dissatisfied with the treatment your parent received.

I have asked for feedback from the department regarding the assessment process for older patients experiencing chronic pain and hope that the following information may alleviate your concerns.

When older patients present with chronic pain the key question to ask is “can they walk” because it is important to maintain independence and mobility and will influence the decision as to whether a patient requires admission or whether they can be safely discharged home. Often simple analgesia is the best option to use as many of the stronger medications have serious side effects which can cause complications, especially in older people. Your GP may be able to assist you with exploring other options to manage your parent's condition such as referral to a chronic pain team.

In the Emergency Department the flow of patients in need of attention is continuous, because of this we actively promote the need to take regular breaks so that staff can safely care for our patients. I am sorry that you felt that this demonstrated a lack of concern for patients who were waiting to be seen. We are fortunate to have a very dedicated team of doctors and nurses working in ED.

Once again, thank you for feeding back your experience of our services as it is important to us that we consistently try and improve the care we provide.

Kind regards

Janet Zagari

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