"Wasting away in hospital"

About: Box Hill Hospital

(as a relative),

To Whom it may Concern;

My ‘story’ is in regard to and on behalf of my aunt who arrived at the Box Hill public hospital a little while back.

Unfortunately, to spite the good intentions of most every staff member at the hospital with whom I have spoken, my Aunt has deteriorated from a patient with a superficial condition, i.e. a haematoma on her leg, to a situation now where she has fluid on her lungs, possibly with pneumonia, has suffered two (that I am aware of) heart ‘incidents’, and has lost so much weight that my spouse did not recognize her after almost a week of fasting (in readiness for a surgical procedure). My aunt is very elderly.

My first and main concern is that as of today she may be afforded a more concerted and integrated approach to her general health predicament. I say this because I have experienced numerous discrepancies in her care thus far.

To mention one such concern. I am flabbergasted by the fact that a person of her age would be allowed, in fact, forced to fast for the best part of a week (possibly more, but I have not been able, as yet, to find out exactly) in preparation for surgical procedures. All this while quite literally wasting away physically, and emotionally.

I do know for a fact that on one occasion during this fasting period, when she was moved from a double to a single room, that she was given the food ordered by the previous occupant of that room. Voiding any possibility of a surgical procedure that day. . . . . . . . More delays.

During the first week of her stay I called in to the hospital enquiring about her progress and was given information twice relating to the wrong person. Yes twice.

Also, when it was deemed time, suitable, even necessary for her to sit up in the chair by her bed as part of her rehabilitation, she complained to me about being left there too long. I say too long because she was allowed to get cold, not just a little bit cold but cold to her bones. I have mentioned this on several occasions prior to now, to various staff members. Needless to say my auntie has complained to me several more times up until now about becoming cold in that chair. Now she has fluid on her lungs and possibly pneumonia.

Regarding her dietary health, it has taken the best part of her time spent in hospital for it to be assessed that she does in fact have special needs. In one conversation with one of the dietary staff members I was informed that she had arrived in hospital weighing fifty-five kilos and that at the time of the conversation my aunt was registered as having a weight of seventy-five kilos (or thereabouts). Impossible!

During the first week of my aunt’s treatment I requested that the doctor in charge of her might give me a call. It took over a week for that call to be made.

You may appreciate why I am very concerned for my aunt's well-being. Prior to her admittance to hospital she was living at home, enjoying and managing her life independently (with assistance from Community Support people), and it is her wish to return to her home once again. My aunt has absolutely no intention to be living outside of her own home.

I say all this because I would like it to be very clear, for my aunt's sake.

As my aunt’s closest surviving relative, with Power of Attorney regarding health and medical issues, I look forward to a response regarding the above mentioned issues.

Responses

Response from Jo Gatehouse, Director, Quality, Planning and Innovation (Acute Health and Consumer Participation and Patient Experience), Eastern Health

picture of Jo Gatehouse

Dear concerning treatment,

I was very concerned to read your aunt’s story on Patient Opinion, but thank you for sharing it so we can look into your concerns and work with you both to ensure that your aunt receives the care that she requires in a timely and well-coordinated way.

Could you please contact me directly via email: jo.gatehouse@easternhealth.org.au so that I can ascertain some more details to enable me to follow up with the team providing your aunt’s care as soon as possible?

I can reassure you that I will not share any of your personal details on Patient Opinion.

I hope to hear from you soon.

Kind Regards,

Jo Gatehouse

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