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"36 hours in spinal department"

About: Royal Perth Hospital / Orthopaedic Surgical & Trauma & Spinal Care Ward 3H/5G

(as the patient),

I was transferred to RPH spinal dept by ambulance from another hospital. I was placed in a single room accessed through a storeroom. The phone didn't work, I was in a neck brace & not allowed to move without nurses' assistance. The nurses who treated me generally did an excellent job, although some assistance with eating meals would have been appreciated (meals were delivered to the bedside table & when you're flat on your back, seeing & reaching the food is a little difficult).

5 points of concern/improvement

1. I had an MRI around mid-morning on a weekend & it took 24 hours for someone to say the results were good & I could be discharged. Given that the goal is an empty bed, I believe a quicker analysis of the MRI results could have had me discharged around lunchtime that same day. If this is extrapolated to other patients, I believe there's a lot of hospital beds occupied by patients who should not be there.

2. I was sent to the spinal ward & was only treated for my spine (the nurses did check my pupil dilation every obs) but it appears that the doctors only treated my spine. Within a few hours of being discharged, I was vomiting & went to another ED & displayed symptoms of concussion.

3. Once the doctor says you can be discharged, it seems you're out. Only problem is that you need to find your own way home & as I went to my local hospital in the middle of the night by ambulance, without a mobile phone, wallet, reading glasses, and hearing aids it does make it a little difficult. And when you're flat on your back in a brace, phone, glasses etc are of little use anyway.

4. I think a working phone in my room as well as at the nurses' station would be an improvement. My family on several occasions tried to ring the nurses, but I believe the phone rang out. I felt the connection was very poor, consequently, the communication was lacking. In my room, the phone was not set up for spinal patients. I couldn't reach the receiver to answer calls and I couldn't see the buttons to make calls. I was totally reliant on the cordless phone at the nurses' station & from my experience, that is a very busy phone because as soon as my call ended, the phone would ring with hospital internal calls I believe for the nurses etc.  

5. I suggest you need an articulated angled control panel, that attaches to the bed that has the nurses call button, a phone, a recess for the TV, mobile phone holder, USB connection, recess for reading glasses etc. When you're flat on your back, you cannot see what's on tables at the side, you cannot reach anything at the side & when multiple nurses roll you to wash your back, everything is moved away & once they forgot to replace the nurses call button so I spent 5 minutes banging away with the bed controller trying to attract attention.

The nurses I interacted with daily did a good job & I appreciated their care.

I feel the interaction between depts could be improved. i.e., on the last morning, the nurse did my obs & I asked them if there was any news re my MRI results & they said no they were still waiting for the senior doctor to look at them. Within 5 minutes of them leaving the room, another staff member walked in & said I was being discharged. I said that maybe you should please let the nurses know as well.

How do I feel?

Well, a little confused, annoyed, frustrated.


Response from Lesley Bennett, Executive Director, Royal Perth Bentley Group 3 days ago
Lesley Bennett
Executive Director,
Royal Perth Bentley Group
Submitted on 02/03/2021 at 13:24
Published on Care Opinion at 13:43

picture of Lesley Bennett

Dear wezenzf76,

Thank you for letting us know of your recent health journey and the difficulties you encountered along the way. This is not the standard of care we aspire to achieve and I was disappointed to read that due to your experience you were left confused, annoyed and frustrated.

It must have been extremely upsetting to feel you were unable to communicate with the nursing staff or family and friends due to the phone in your room not working. I sincerely apologise for this and for the lack of assistance whilst trying to eat your meals and reach for your belongings. Can I thank you for offering some solutions for our team to consider to overcome the challenges that you faced.

It sounds as though you were placed into a single room with an ante-room for infection control purposes. I apologise that this was not clearly communicated to you.

I was concerned to read that you felt the departments were not communicating effectively to coordinate your care, this is unsatisfactory and we will share your experience with the relevant departments so they can learn the impact this poor communication had on your care.

Without specific details, it is difficult to ascertain if there was a lack of assessment and a delay in your discharge from the hospital. I would encourage you to contact our Consumer Engagement Unit on (08) 9224 1637, 8 am to 4 pm or email who will be able to assist in resolving your concerns further.

I would like to reassure you that your feedback has been passed onto senior nursing and medical staff to discuss with the departments involved, specifically to consider your helpful suggestions and to the nursing staff involved in your care regarding the call bell access and assistance with dietary needs.

I hope your recovery is progressing well.

Kind Regards,

Dr Lesley Bennett

Executive Director

Royal Perth Bentley Group

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