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"Disappointed in the treatment of my elderly parent"

About: Sutherland Hospital / Barkala

(as a relative),

My parent was sent to Sutherland Hospital for suspected spinal injuries after a bad fall at home.

They were placed in the Barkala section of the acute aged care area.

During their stay, they were not moved to a ward and were made to stay 11 days in what I felt was this poorly run unit.

The hospital failed to find 2 fractures in my parent's pelvis (detected later at another hospital) they were given an MRI and normal X-rays. No CT scan was done, despite their complaints of serious pain.

On the 3rd day, I tried to shower my parent, after no one had bathed them. I was forced to shower them in a dark room as the light globes were busted. I had to use the torch on my mobile to do this for my parent.

That same day, my parent had a nose bleed. A nurse wiped a piece of mucous from my parent's nose and wiped it on the bedside table because, as I understand it, there were no issues in any of the wards. (I felt this was absolutely disgusting).

When my parent advised me the next day, I had to wipe down their table, which was covered in stains and blood. I was appalled, to say the least.

As days went on, I believe the doctors had not made plans to move my parent to an aged care ward. I believe they continued to give them pain medication and did not monitor their bowel movements.

After 4 days, my parent started to manifest an inflammatory skin condition. Despite me advising the doctors and staff, I felt no one took the initiative to look into what was causing it or treated it.

After 5 days, my parent contracted a UTI. I am assuming that it was due to the lack of showers and poor hygiene given to them. They had been given a cream from a professor at another hospital. I believe the nurses did not apply this cream, causing my parent's thrush to flare up again.

On the 10th day of being at this acute care section, my parent develops prolapse haemorrhoids. I called a nurse, who I felt could not be bothered to check my parent and said, it wasn't a prolapse.

I had previously asked a number of staff including a doctor to transfer my parent to another hospital. Nothing was organised in relation to this request.

My parent also developed very high potassium levels during their stay there.

On the 11th day after speaking to a doctor who said they would only monitor the prolapse and not offering any kind of explanation or treatment, I decided to discharge my parent from Sutherland Hospital and drove them to another hospital.

During my parent's stay at Sutherland, I witness many nurses just chatting and laughing in a group at the front desk, I believe ignoring patients calling them. They appeared to be a big clique and, in my opinion, neglected many elderly patients.

I am disgusted by their behaviour. The nurse looking after my parent tried to, I believe, intimidate me by standing at the counter and giving me what I felt were dirty looks while the doctor wrote the discharge letter which took about 20mins. The whole time I believe this nurse ignored the buzzer from calling patients and stood there with their arms folded staring at my parent and me up and down.

Since writing this story, my parent has now been moved to a private hospital, I believe because of bed shortages in the public hospital.

When being moved over to the private hospital, their discharge letters were not sent with them. Only a list of medications I believe.

The private hospital had no information on my parent's condition, clouding the fact that they needed insulin that same afternoon. This was very upsetting to me and, in my opinion, the staff at the private hospital. Despite many phone calls to follow this up, the paperwork was not sent. I had to personally go to the public to speak to the drs.

I was met with a Dr I felt was rude who said they were having their lunch and there were many patients they needed to care for and that I had to wait or complain to the head nurse, who had already left for the day. I have more information on their background and what level they were on. I was upset at the level of what I felt was disrespect and disregard for my parent's wellbeing. When I threatened to make a formal complaint with the nursing staff, I believe they then decided to get the paperwork. I had to wait a further 30min for this to be done.

I then walked the paperwork down to the private hospital myself and gave it to the staff there. They asked me if my parent had gone home after Sutherland hospital before going to the private one. Apparently, Sutherland hospital had put the wrong discharge date of 5 days before my parent's actual discharge date. In my opinion, no one is wanting to rectify this, because it wasn't their mistake. I had to explain all over again that I discharged my parent from Sutherland and took them straight to the other hospital.

This whole experience has seriously disappointed me in the way the elderly are treated. I cannot believe the mistakes that have been made and the poor administration of staff. My parent is traumatised and is refusing to go to a permanent respite after their ordeal.

I am going to share this story with the media to bring awareness to the neglected patients in the aged care unit at Sutherland hospital. I hope this story can help others.

Many thanks.

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Response from Vicki Weeden, General Manager, The Sutherland Hospital & Garrawarra Centre 5 months ago
Vicki Weeden
General Manager,
The Sutherland Hospital & Garrawarra Centre
Submitted on 09/06/2021 at 15:01
Published on Care Opinion at 15:02

picture of Vicki Weeden

Dear requirementph93,

Thank you for taking the time to let us know of your elderly parent’s admission to the Barkala Ward at Sutherland Hospital. I would like to sincerely apologise for the distress caused to you and your parent during this admission. I am very disappointed as the standard of care you describe is not in keeping with normal standards from staff at this hospital.

Our aim is to provide a high standard of care and should you wish to provide your details, your parent’s admission can be thoroughly reviewed. If so, please contact Ms Valmai Ciccarello, Consumer Feedback Manager, on

I hope your parent is much improved following their admission to the private hospital.

Thank you,

Kind regards

Vicki Weeden

General Manager

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