"Lack of staffing and attention to patients' needs"

About: Nepean Hospital / Trauma & orthopaedics

(as a relative),

A while ago my mother was an inpatient on the Orthopaedic ward. She stayed for a number of weeks within the hospital and was appalled at the short staffing and how it affects the general care for patients. It was well noted that the ratio of students and the proper experienced nursing staff was unequal with the student numbers being more prominent. While it’s paramount that students have regular practical experience, there appeared to be a lack of clear and structured guidance from senior management.   

Communication between medical staff (doctors) and nursing staff was inadequate, there were numerous times my mother had to chase nurses for her prescribed medication. Although she was totally aware of her required daily medication due to the doctor's instructions, the staff on duty would forget, most notably students, and she would have to chase the next nurse on duty to receive her medication.

Being immobile patients, nurse assistance to the toilets was imperative and due to short staffing both my mother and the patient beside her would wait up to an hour during the night to be assisted to relieve themselves, with a few unfortunate and truly embarrassing incidents occurring to both mature patients due to a lack of attention. This brings us to the simple fact that general TLC is lacking in these wards (that are understandably very demanding and busy) due to a lack of service caused by insufficient staff. 

Overall it was a very disappointing and upsetting long-term stay for my mother and while the millions of dollars invested into the hospital have updated and advanced the technology and appearance it appears that one of the most important and key factors that ensures a hospital runs smoothly has been missed. That is sufficient staff especially for high maintenance wards and instructive senior management for all nursing staff.

After having worked in the healthcare industry for a number of decades my mother felt it was her duty to inform senior management and authorities about the service in the hope that they address the lack and inefficiency of staff, along with the attention to patients’ needs.

We are happy to discuss this further with any senior management or pursue this further with NSW Health to assist in reconciling the unfortunate and disappointing situation there at Nepean Hospital.

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