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"My spouse's recent experience"

About: Angliss Hospital / Emergency Department Angliss Hospital / Ward 2 East

(as a relative),

Recently, my spouse was brought to your Emergency Department by ambulance suffering from severe pain in their lower back and right leg. They were unable to walk, even with assistance. This was around night time. My spouse was deposited in the Emergency Department waiting area where they sat, in a draft, for over three hours before being taken into the department. Once in E.D., they received excellent care. Sometime around the early hours of the next morning, it was decided that my spouse should stay in the E.D. until later in the morning.

At around midday, they were moved to Ward 2 East. On arriving at the ward, again the care they received was first-rate. Eventually, my spouse was seen by doctors, and later by physiotherapists. A series of diagnostic imaging procedures were also performed.

Despite numerous requests for information about the results of the investigations, the information given to my spouse and myself was minimal. Trying to find out details of their diagnosis was, to use a colloquial expression, I believe akin to pulling teeth. We may be in our 70’s but we are still able to understand what we are told, and we don’t like being kept in the dark.

After several days, a physiotherapy student, and later their supervisor I believe, came and told my spouse that they would start them on using a walking frame. This was despite these people not having, or giving any information about my spouse's diagnosis, or what was the aim of the physio treatment. This young doctor started to work with my spouse, and over the course of the next two days my spouse progressed through three different types of walking frames, and finally to using a walking stick.

We were initially told that my spouse would be transferred to the rehabilitation section. This course of action was, according to the physiotherapists, the preferred course of action. It was then suggested that this would be followed up with physiotherapists visiting my spouse at home, on their discharge. To us, this, seemed like a sensible approach. Shortly after this information was conveyed to us, there was apparently a change of plans, and without consultation, it was decided that my spouse would be discharged home without the benefit of the stay in the rehabilitation section.

I believe it became very noticeable to my spouse from that point onwards they were given the impression that they were an encumbrance on the ward, and they were being bullied into their discharge. In my opinion, the caring attention that my spouse had been shown by the staff appeared to evaporate. There are numerous posters throughout your hospital, proclaiming that bullying a Health Care Worker is a crime, what then is bullying a patient considered?

On the last night of their stay, my spouse was asked to change to another bed in the ward. They did this willingly, only to find this bed was not supplied with a blanket, and the bed’s brakes had not been applied, so it moved disconcertingly as they were entering it.

When my spouse asked for a blanket for the bed, I believe they were told it was coming, but nothing arrived and they were left cold, shivering and in pain all night. My spouse is not the type to complain, and tey felt that as they had asked once, and nothing eventuated, the staff must have more important things to deal with than their comfort.

My spouse attempted to speak of their concerns to the Charge Nurse on the ward during their hurried discharge. Unfortunately, I believe this staff member gave the impression that they did not want to know about the matter. There was no consideration or discussion I believe, about how my spouse would manage at home.

During the rush from the ward to the Departure Lounge, my spouse was not given time to eat their midday meal. Apparently, they were supposed to eat it, cold, off a tray on their lap, whilst juggling a walking stick as well.

When I collected my spouse from the Departure Lounge as we walked to our car, we received a phone call from the Pathology department, advising that they had found some anomalies in their liver function. This had apparently been found as a result of a blood test, and likely related to the medications they were taking. It should be mentioned that the blood for this test was taken by a student, whose dexterity needed considerable work in my opinion. They appeared to still have a lot to learn about carrying out the procedure.

Over the phone, my spouse was told to see their GP at their earliest opportunity. They found this very worrying. For us, a GP visit involves a booking and a wait of around a week before we are seen. If the issue was important enough to ring us as we were walking out, I believe it should have been dealt with in the hospital, before my spouse was rushed out the door.

I repeat, my spouse cannot escape the feeling that their discharge was rushed, and their wellbeing was totally overlooked. We are both bitterly disappointed that they received this sub-standard care, from a hospital we had come to admire.

My spouse is still very upset, and they are still in pain. They are concerned that they may relapse to the same state as they were in on their admission. My spouse is now loath to visit The Angliss again, should they need further care. And, as we are Pensioners, this is, unfortunately, our only option.

We are fully aware of the demands placed on the staff and resources of a public Teaching Hospital. However, the needs of the patients should not have to take second place, and a patient’s discharge should be handled with dignity.

We would be interested to hear your comments on my spouse's experience. We also hope that by raising these concerns, I believe other older patients without benefit of private insurance will not suffer the same treatment.

I can provide a picture of bedpan left on meal tray.

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Responses

Response from David Plunkett, Chief Executive, Eastern Health 6 months ago
David Plunkett
Chief Executive,
Eastern Health
Submitted on 24/05/2021 at 16:53
Published on Care Opinion at 16:54


picture of David Plunkett

Dear airsk68,

Thank you for taking the time to share the experience you and your spouse had when attending, and being admitted to Eastern Health’s Angliss Hospital.

I would like to acknowledge the balance you have provided in your feedback with recognising both the positive aspects of your spouse’s care and also the areas that sound as they need review.

I believe you have already contacted the Eastern Health Centre for Patient Experience and provided this feedback to our Patient Relations Advisors. Your feedback is now with the Clinical Program Leaders for their review and they will come back to you (via the Centre for Patient Experience) as soon as this has been completed.

Should you wish to connect with the Patient Relations Advisors in the meantime, please call 1800 EASTERN or email feedback@easternhealth.org.au. If you choose to call please be aware that it is possible that the Patient Relations Advisors may be on another call at the time you ring and if so you will be invited to leave a message so they can return your call.

Thank you again.

David

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