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"Overzealous approach to COVID regulations"

About: Narrogin Health Service

(as a relative),

My spouse's parent had been diagnosed with live and pancreatic cancer and was admitted to Narrogin Hospital recently passed away 6 days later.  We were quite aware of the COVID regulations in place as we had been given a sheet on the guidelines for this, and we also were aware that special consideration could be given to having more than two people in the room when visiting. In my opinion, the front office staff who registered our details on entry to the hospital for COVID were appalling in their approach to this task and in my opinion were overzealous in the approach they took.  

I believe statements such as - you know only two people will only be allowed at any one time despite what any of the nurses say - is not helpful for people visiting a person who is in palliative care.  They did this every single time we visited and at times I felt they were intimidating in their approach.  We were scolded for apparently saying that we had been allowed before and comments such as - who am I to say anything - are, in my opinion, despicable.

The nurses were aware of the patient's condition and allowed us into the room and accommodated all requests but this was not reciprocated by the front office staff.  What I believe should have happened, is something noted on the patient's notes so that the questioning would cease when we arrived rather than be faced with, what I felt were, overzealous office staff who seemed intent on making what was already a difficult situation even worse.


Response from Jenny Menasse, Operations Manager Southern Wheatbelt, WACHS - Wheatbelt 6 months ago
Jenny Menasse
Operations Manager Southern Wheatbelt,
WACHS - Wheatbelt
Submitted on 22/07/2020 at 10:49
Published on Care Opinion at 11:03

picture of Jenny Menasse

Dear wezenyy59

I wish to extend my sincerest apologies for the negative experience you and your family had with the Narrogin Health Service front reception staff.

Delivery of safe healthcare as well as protecting patients, families and staff is the number one priority of all hospital service providers. A maximum of two visitors at a time for each patient throughout standard visiting hours has been set by the Department of Health for inpatients to ensure we protect our most vulnerable populations and staff from the spread of COVID-19.

It is a requirement the front reception staff ensure all visitors entering a hospital environment adhere to the key government recommendations with regards to COVID-19. The exceptional circumstances to allow more visitors to your spouse’s parent granted by the nursing staff were not noted on the patient administration system therefore the front reception staff was not aware of them.

Narrogin Health Service is committed to ensuring the needs of our patients and their families are at the centre of everything we do and it was disappointing to learn the actions of our reception staff made a difficult situation worse as this was not their intention.

I was pleased to learn the nursing staff accommodated your requests and have reiterated the importance of making sure any changes to the visiting restrictions are updated on the patient system and communicated to the front reception staff to prevent other families having a similar experience.

I want to thank you for bringing this issue to my attention. We are always looking at ways to improve our service, and your feedback is an invaluable part of that process.

I would encourage you to contact me on (08) 9881 0413 so I may have the opportunity to investigate this matter further.

Kind regards,

Jenny Menasse

Operations Manager Southern Wheatbelt

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Response from Rachele Ferrari, Regional Director, WACHS Wheatbelt 6 months ago
Rachele Ferrari
Regional Director,
WACHS Wheatbelt
Submitted on 22/07/2020 at 15:25
Published on Care Opinion at 15:53

Dear wezenyy59,

I read your story and was so sorry to hear of the passing of your spouse’s parent. With the restrictions around COVID, I can only imagine how difficult this must have been for you and your family.

As a result of COVID there has been additional challenges for our health service to consider. However, I expect that all of our staff act with compassion and empathy, particularly with our palliative care patients and their families. The time spent with your loved one would have been precious and I am pleased that our nursing staff supported you with this.

I can’t change your experience; however, I genuinely want you to know that we will learn and improve from this.

If you are happy to, I would encourage you to make contact with Jenny Menasse who is the Operations Manager Southern Wheatbelt, to talk about what happened. Jenny can be contacted on (08) 9881 0413.

Thank you for taking the time to share your story with us.

Kind regards,

Rachele Ferrari

A/Regional Director Wheatbelt

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