"Different Hospital experiences. A shame."

About: Fiona Stanley Hospital Kununurra Hospital

(as the patient),

I broke my wrist & went into Kununurra Hospital. The staff there were wonderful, cheerful, friendly & explaining things as they went. The X-ray staff, Dr Ann & the nurses couldn't have been more helpful. Unfortunately they were not able to sort my wrist out (I don't know the technicalities) while I was under sedation so I had to fly to Perth the next day to Fiona Stanley Hospital. Dr Ann rang Fiona Stanley Hospital where the doctor said that they would operate on my wrist on my arrival in Perth. Dr Ann queried this with the doctor there reminding them that I wouldn't arrive there until around 5 pm but the doctor insisted on the phone that they would operate on my arrival. I arrived not long after 5 pm but was told I had to go to casualty. Thank goodness for the volunteer there explaining things to new arrivals. After a short wait I was taken to a room which I later found out was the prisoner’s room. The doctor/specialist arrived to see me & was very cheerful & friendly but said I wouldn't have my operation that night but would be one of the first to be operated on in the morning.

I then waited for five hours in the room without information other than that I would be staying overnight. At one stage I asked the very pleasant nurse who I had seen if I could walk up to the ward but was told no, that I could only go in a wheelchair or on a stretcher. This is a great shame. I felt well & was fit & able other than my broken wrist. This made me feel really bad, that I wasn't allowed to walk. I think this is a sad policy - so risk averse that you make the patients feel bad rather than as positive as possible under the circumstances.

The nurse asked me if I was hungry. After fasting all day naturally the answer was yes. I had seen the Fiona Stanley Hospital kitchen on the TV with a news item explaining how great the emphasis is on nutrition so I was looking forward to dinner. A cardboard box was handed to me & left with me. With only one good arm I had to use my teeth to peel back the glued cover. Inside was another glued up box which again I struggled to open. Inside was a ham sandwich. No-one had asked me if I ate ham. There was an orange drink glued fast which I tried not to wear as I again opened it with my teeth. And a piece of cake similarly glued up.

Five & a half hours after I entered the hospital an orderly arrived to take me up to a ward. We went to the wrong ward first & it seemed the man there looked horrified until he worked out it was a mistake. At the right ward there was a woman behind the counter who was really unfriendly. I didn't know if she was a ward clerk or nurse as no-one introduced themselves. I later came to the conclusion she was a nurse. The orderly delivered me to a room & I sat in the chair for another half an hour. I then went to the counter & asked the same woman if I could please get a towel & have a shower & get into bed. (I had had a full day & two flights etc. to get to Perth. ) The woman didn't make eye contact or introduce herself or say hello but just turned to look at a man in uniform who was walking towards the desk & said loudly &, I thought, rudely 'she's one of yours! '.

The man came forward so I asked him if I could get a towel & have a shower & get into bed. He asked if I could wait to shower until the morning so I explained I had been travelling & was happy to shower myself & happy to have another shower in the morning, so he fetched me a towel & a plastic bag for my arm. He wasn't unpleasant & he did smile but he didn't introduce himself or tell me who he was but I guessed he must also be a nurse. He had a really bad cold sickness or flu & kept sneezing so I thought he should not have been at work spreading germs. After showering I got into bed.

First thing in the morning they asked me to shower & put on the theatre gown which I was happy to do having been told I would have my op early. This wasn't to be & I waited until around 4 pm. The anaesthetists were very friendly but also surprised no-one had come to take blood from me during the day. No-one at any stage during the day had come & explained to me what would happen although the day staff were much more pleasant, particularly the nursing assistants.

A few hours after the op I was again asked if I would like to have something to eat. I received exactly the same box with exactly the same contents as the previous evening & no offer of help to open them. After breakfast the next day (one good arm & teeth to open glued up milk, glued up cereal, no offer of help) I was told I didn't have to see the doctor & was free to go.

The PATS form had been signed but no-one told me that the airline I was booked on wouldn't let patients fly within a week of having anaesthetics unless the doctor had signed a special certificate that I was fit to fly. So when I fronted up at the airport three days after my op there was a big kerfuffle before they would let me on the plane only helped by one of the Kununurra Hospital doctors in the queue behind me offering to sign the paperwork. The Fiona Stanley Hospital staff should be made aware of this for country patients needing to fly home.

When I left the hospital I went down to what I thought was the taxi rank. Another lovely volunteer came up in a little buggy & drove me down to the cab rank. The volunteers were the best part of the Fiona Stanley Hospital experience. At least they knew about customer service & their cheery attitudes cheered me up particularly in the face of the dismal behaviour of some of the staff which I experienced there. Staff morale seemed so poor at Fiona Stanley Hospital that it certainly negatively affects the patient experience.

Responses

Response from Maureen Crowther, Patient Opinion Cordinator, Nursing, WA Country Health Service

picture of Maureen Crowther

Dear Broken Wrist

Thank you for sharing your story on Patient Opinion concerning your recent broken wrist adventure! After what sounds like a big run around, I hope everything has finally worked out well and you are on your way to a speedy recovery.

I have forward your story to the operations manager at Kununurra hospital. Attached is her response.

Dear Broken Wrist,

Thank you for taking the time to share your story about your recent experiences in Kununurra and Fiona Stanley Hospitals. It is very reassuring to hear that our staff in Kununurra have provided professional care and assisted you to receive the best treatment for your wrist. I am pleased to hear you had your surgery and you have now arrived safely back in Kununurra.

There are many issues you have raised in your story that relate to your experience in Fiona Stanley Hospital.

This valuable information will be passed on to the team at Fiona Stanley Hospital. We are very fortunate to have large city hospitals staffed with Clinical Specialist that support our country services, we couldn’t do it without them.

If you wish to contact me by phone my number is 08 91664233, I would be happy to talk through your experiences in more detail. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

Kind regards

Donna Hindmarsh

Operations Manager

East Kimberley Health Service

Kununurra Hospital

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Response from Patient Opinion Australia

The following response has been published on behalf of Fiona Stanley Hospital by Patient Opinion Australia.

Dear Broken Wrist

Fiona Stanley Hospital strives to ensure every patient is given the best care possible and has a positive experience within our health service. We encourage people with concerns to contact us in writing so we can continue to improve the care we provide to patients and their families. We have a dedicated Patient and Family Liaison Service who are able to speak to patients and their families/carers about any concerns, complaints or compliments regarding the care they have received. Our Patient and Family Liaison Service can be contacted via email fshpatientfamilyliaison@health.wa.gov.au or telephone 6152 4013.

Kind Regards

A/Manager Patient & Family Liaison Service | Safety, Quality & Risk

Fiona Stanley Hospital

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Updates, changes and questions related to this story

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