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STORY HAS A RESPONSE

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About: Angliss Hospital BlueCross Livingstone Gardens Maroondah Hospital / Emergency Department

Our very elderly mother was operated on for a melanoma at her elbow. She had a skin graft and stayed overnight in a private hospital. She grazed her arm on an uneven wall decoration when she lost her balance in the hospital. She was discharged to her retirement village home that day with one of her sons who was staying with her, to make sure she was ok and had what she needed.

Unfortunately she fell over at home (3 days later) and broke the other shoulder. She was taken by ambulance to Maroondah Hospital, Eastern Health. The difference in the quality of the care was very noticeable and when doctors suggested she be transferred back to the private hospital she was very upset at the thought.

It is flu season, so beds are very tight. She was moved to an excellent unit at Angliss Hospital where she was cared for by a multidisciplinary team involving a fabulous nurse/manager/co-ordinator with incredible skills working with people; a great geriatrician and other medicos and a wonderful physio team. After a few days our mother was offered the opportunity to move again to a pilot, new program: Non weight bearers residential service at BlueCross Livingston Gardens.

This was such a blessing and overall a great experience. Our mother said: I hope they continue this wonderful program. My friends have all learnt so much about what is possible. I preferred being here at Livingston than in the hospital because:

• I had my own room and wasn’t disturbed by what was happening to others

• The physio came almost every day, the doctors came very often and discussed any and all of my worries and concerns. I felt cared for.

• The Manager, Jo was very good, she understood and was so good working with me and my family.

• I enjoyed being able to take my family and visitors downstairs for a cup of coffee

• The wifi access and other facilities like the library was very good. I could keep up with my emails and watched a great series on my iPad”

Our mother was a triple certificated nurse and is able to view her care both as a patient and from the ‘other side’. The things that were challenging in the program included:

• It is very difficult for the young staff here, they are not always proficient in English so they don’t talk to you and there is a lack of communication. Need to get the young people feeling at home.

• I would like to have a rapport with staff but there is someone new each morning. Lots of people here can’t communicate either, so it is hard for the staff too and they seem to assume no one can talk.

• We need to understand how the young staff are feeling, they are at a disadvantage.

• Sometimes they came in at night and I would wake up and get a fright as I didn’t know who they were.

• I was expected to wear a pad, so they didn’t have to help me get to the toilet.

• When I first came it was especially difficult even in the day, as I had to wait for someone to come to get to the toilet…. It was so long

• They are just so, so busy

The family experience was also extremely good. We were rung directly by the Geriatrician when there were medical issues but he always talked about the whole person, emotional wellbeing as an overlay to everything else that was going on. We received tremendous consideration from the Manager who did receive different communication from different members of the family but she was always patient and was able to help us understand what our mum could and couldn’t do. Our mother was able to make the decision herself not to return to her unit and is now on respite in what she hopes will be her new place, where all her friends are, in the same grounds as the village where she has lived for the last 30 years.

Overall the care at Eastern Health was so considerate of our mother’s needs, within the constraints of the system. This is the first time in her life that she has used the public healthcare system and it exceeded every expectation.

She could have been moved into other wards and programs with a much lower level of care and supervision but this program allowed more time to recover, repeated moving would have slowed recovery or caused more harm. We are very grateful as we are confident that our mother’s capacity to enjoy her life has been optimised, as much as possible. It is not easy for hospitals to deliver this level of care in the midst of peak demand for beds and care.

Thank you for your outstanding work.

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Responses to this story

Response from David Plunkett, Chief Executive, Eastern Health

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Dear Pilot Program,

Thank you so much for providing your great feedback and comments regarding the care your mother received and also how you and your family were involved in your mother's care.

I read your feedback with much joy at the kindness and compassion staff, whether they be at Maroondah Hospital, Angliss Hospital or the pilot program conducted at BlueCross Livingstone Gardens at what must have been a difficult and traumatic period for you all.

Thank you for also providing specific details with regards to some improvements that could be made. Whilst we all like to celebrate the terrific care and service provided, learning where we can improve is also vital.

I will make sure your feedback is provided to staff involved in your mother's care and trust your mother continues to go from strength to strength.

Kind regards

David

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Response from Alan Lilly, Chief Executive, BlueCross

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Dear Pilot Program,

Thank you so much for taking the time to provide your feedback on your recent experience at both Eastern Health and BlueCross Livingstone Gardens. It is really heartening to read feedback like yours and so kind of you to take the time to reflect and help us all get better at what we do.

I can see that David Plunkett responded to you from Eastern Health and like David, I will also make sure that we pass on your feedback to our staff as again, it's a great opportunity for them to see where we do things well and also, where we can improve. I will also discuss this with acting Regional Manager (Marg Alexander) and the Residence Manager, Helen Sketcher. I know that they will value your feedback.

The program has been a very good example of the public and private health & aged care sectors working well together and we were delighted to work on this when Eastern Health approached us earlier this year.

Thank you again Pilot Program for taking the time to write. Your feedback is very much appreciated. I do hope that your mum is otherwise keeping well.

Kind regards,

Alan Lilly

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