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"Patient experience and areas of improvement needed"

About: Albany Health Campus / Emergency Department Albany Health Campus / Surgical Ward

(as a carer),

My partner presented to the ED at Albany Health Campus recently, they were extremely ill with probable sepsis. From the moment we presented to ED we were treated quickly and efficiently by the Doctors and Nurses who attended to us and they kept us informed and as my partner's condition was deteriorating quickly.

Dr Brian made sure I gave consent in advance for a possible transfer to Perth, a number of tests were run and antibiotics were given. As my partner was as stable as they could be I left the hospital in the early hours of the morning, with a plan to be called if my partner deteriorated or attend the next morning. 

The next morning, my partner had been moved to a ward and was more stable than the previous evening, although they were extremely disorientated to time and place and was continuing to have high temperatures. Worryingly, they were also having some hallucinations and was regularly trying to get in and out of bed against advice, whilst I was visiting I was able to comfort and keep them calm. 

After spending most of the day with my partner, I went home to get some rest, which, unfortunately, was short-lived when I received a phone call late in the night advising that my partner had fallen and sustained a large cut to their left arm. My partner was ok but they advised still disoriented and now back in bed. 

When I visited the next day I was happy to see a pressure sensor mat on their bed to monitor movement and ensure staff were aware if they tried to get out of bed, however, I was not happy when I saw the large, deep full-thickness laceration on my partner's arm. I was also concerned that after a review by two Doctors the laceration was not even sutured, just dressed and cleaned. It was also concerning to know that after their fall, my partner was attended by 2 doctors and 2 nurses and after an assessment, the Drs proceeded to leave and the nurses called 2 orderlies who manually lifted them from the floor to the bed. At no point was my partner's arm x-rayed or any further examinations undertaken. Despite ongoing delirium and a fall, no CT scan of their head was done either. 

Luckily, with the care of some wonderful nursing staff, Isobel especially, and medical staff, my partner started to improve and after 6 days was advised they would be discharged. That is where, unfortunately, things went backwards again and we were subjected to what I consider, inappropriate and uncalled for behaviour, in my opinion, by a quite frankly rude member of staff. 

After discussing my partner's discharge with their Dr, who advised they would require 1 further IV antibiotics that evening, therefore not finishing that treatment for another 2 hours, we agreed to a plan that it would be better for my partner to stay in hospital that night and be discharged the next morning. About an hour after the Dr had left we were visited by a particular staff member who proceeded to advise that my partner was being discharged and who would be coming back to get them tonight? I explained to this staff member that the Dr had agreed my partner should stay tonight and be discharged the next morning, they were extremely unhappy about this and accused me of being on the defensive and tried to assert that my partner was finishing their treatment tonight and therefore could go home.

I also advised this staff member as to other reasons why having my partner discharged late at night was not practical, including that I was unable to drive at night as I suffer from cataracts. This staff member then proceeded to tell me that was fine, the hospital can put my partner in a taxi with a taxi voucher. I responded no, that is not appropriate for an elderly person, who had just spent 7 days in the hospital, extremely sick with sepsis. I advised this staff member I would come in the morning to collect my partner. 

This staff member then requested the time I would be there in the morning and when I responded 9 am, I felt they snapped back, that was too late, I replied nicely with an offer for them to advise me of what time they would like my partner picked up then, they responded with 8 am.

As an ex-registered nurse of 30+ years, I have never treated a patient or family member in the way this staff member chose to treat us. It concerns me that had I not been there, they would have forced my partner to get in a taxi and go home.

The health service asks families to advocate for their loved ones and unfortunately, it is people like this staff member that makes this a needed practice. It very much makes me wonder how they treat others and how many people who may not have had their family or friends to advocate for them, may have been pushed to leave the hospital before being ready. 

In saying that, my partner, myself and our family are very thankful for the treatment my partner received and the care and attention that was shown in the majority of their stay.  

I would hope that perhaps some further training on empathy, emotional intelligence and how to better communicate with patients and family could be an outcome of this feedback and I would like to register the comments about the particular staff member's treatment of us as a formal complaint. 


Response from Barbara Marquand, Coordinator of Nursing & Midwifery, WACHS Great Southern 2 weeks ago
Barbara Marquand
Coordinator of Nursing & Midwifery,
WACHS Great Southern
Submitted on 30/03/2021 at 16:53
Published on Care Opinion at 16:54

Dear pelicanrq87,

Thank you for taking the time to write to us on Care Opinion.

From your comments and the description of what happened, I can appreciate why you feel let down and I would like to sincerely apologise for your experience and acknowledge the frustration and stress that you and your partner must be feeling. People who come to our service should be treated kindly, respectfully, and compassionately and I am sorry that an individual staff member did not align with the standards we work hard to provide.

I acknowledge your request to register the comments about the staff member's treatment as a formal complaint and I can assure you that your concerns will be shared with them. So that I can do this, can I encourage you to contact me, Barbara Marquand, in my role as Coordinator of Nursing and Midwifery, on 9892 2213.

I would like to assure you that we take the feedback we receive from our patients and their families very seriously and we will use yours to support us to reflect and make improvements to the service we provide. We know that compassion and empathy are integral in ensuring the health and wellbeing of the people in our care and I am pleased to let you know that we have developed a new training program for staff that focuses on the importance of compassionate care and each staff member’s role in providing this to all of our patients and their families.

Can I also thank you for your very kind feedback regarding most aspects of your partner’s stay with us. We know that positive feedback increases the motivation, confidence and self-esteem of our staff and we are very appreciative of your complimentary comments.

I would welcome your call and hope to hear from you soon.

With best wishes

Barbara Marquand

Coordinator of Nursing and Midwifery

Albany Health Campus

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