"Unsatisfactory discharge from hospital."

About: Box Hill Hospital

(as a relative),

My aunt suffered a fall and was taken to Box Hill Hospital.  We felt well informed by doctors with regards to the test results and great compassion was shown in the emergency area.

However, after three days in hospital, the doctor said my Aunt was to be discharged. It was then early afternoon.  The patient's next of kin asked if this would happen the following day. The doctor said it would happen later that afternoon. The family member requested that the doctor call the nursing home to up-date them on the Aunt's condition and make sure they would be expecting her that afternoon. The doctor assured us she would phone the nursing home. She then returned to say the home had no record of her! The hospital records were incorrect so the next of kin gave the doctor a card with the details of the relevant nursing home. Asked the doctor once again if she would contact the home. She said she would. The doctor was then seen leaving with coat & bag in hand. The next of kin was certainly left with the impression that the doctor was trying to empty her beds quickly & felt she didn't show compassion or feeling for the patient or her family. At the expected time of discharge the next of kin returned to accompany the patient back home. The transport didn't arrive for another hour & then headed towards the patient's previous address. The next of kin directed the driver to the correct nursing home because apparently the driver didn't know how to get there. On arrival at the nursing home, 45 minutes later, the sister in charged was surprised because she had had no communication from the hospital, it was after hours for returning a resident and had she known she would have had extra staff on to help care for & settle my Aunt.

Responses

Response from Alan Lilly, Chief Executive, Eastern Health

picture of Alan Lilly

Dear Concerned Niece

I am really sorry to read about your aunt's experience in preparation for and following discharge from Box Hill Hospital. However, I am pleased to note your satisfaction with regard to the care and compassion your aunt received in the Emergency Department. I will certainly pass your feedback on to the staff and the local management team too.

However, I can see that there were issues with regard to preparation for discharge including general communication within the hospital, communication with the nursing home and also, with regard to the personal details we held for your aunt. I am truly sorry that we have let you and your aunt down on this occasion.

I would like to follow this up for you and seek some answers as well as understanding what we can do to prevent a recurrence. In order for me to do this, I would really appreciate you advising me confidentially of your aunt's name, her ward whilst at Box Hill Hospital and date of discharge so that I can correctly identify her records and review the detail. You can be reassured that this will be carried out for the purposes of taking corrective action only and learning about what we can do better. If you are happy to do this, you can email me privately at alan.lilly@easternhealth.org.au and I will follow-up immediately. Whatever you decide, I will fully respect your decision.

In the event that I do not hear from you, I will still follow-up but of course, it will be in a more general manner. Once again, I am sorry that your lasting impression of our health service is less than positive and I hope that I can correct this for you.

In the meantime, I look forward to hearing from you and thank you for sharing your story on Patient Opinion.

Kind regards, Alan Lilly.

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Response from Alan Lilly, Chief Executive, Eastern Health We have made a change

picture of Alan Lilly

Dear Concerned niece

Firstly, thank you for sending additional information as requested in my earlier response to your story. This has indeed most helpful and I am pleased to say that a review has been undertaken by the Box Hill Hospital Chief -Clinical & Site Operations, Mr Martin Smith.

As a result of your feedback, we have identified that whilst there were hand written updates with regard to your aunt's details, the Patient Master Index (PMI) had not been updated and hence the problems you encountered at the time of discharge. Therefore, the Director of Information Services will now be writing to all Ward Clerks and Admitting Clerical Staff to reinforce the requirement to verify and update the details on the PMI at the time of the patient's admission. This notification will also be distributed across the organisation to Directors and Departmental Managers to maximise the learning in this regard.

I can also confirm that our Eastern Health Director of General Medicine, Dr Evan Newnham, has also spoken to the Doctor involved in this matter. Through this, we did in fact identify that the Doctor had tried to call the nursing home on a number of occasions without success but had left a message to return her call on her own private mobile phone. Whilst this was not immediately apparent, it is most pleasing to note her commitment in this regard.

The Nurse Manager of the ward concerned has been most apologetic for the inconvenience experienced by you, your aunt and your family and is most sorry for this series of events. In addition, Martin Smith has personally apologised for these events and has confirmed his commitment to improvements as we have outlined above.

I do hope that you can see that we have taken your feedback on board and that we have truly learned form your less than desirable experience.

Again, on behalf of Eastern Health, I am sorry that you experienced our Health Service in this way but you can be reassured that we have learned from this and will do better next time.

If you would like to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Kind regards and thank you, Alan Lilly

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Updates, changes and questions related to this story

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