"Poor after hospital care"

About: Broome Health Campus / Allied Health

(as other),

In my retirement role as a Multi Purpose Taxi Driver [Wheelchair], I received a call to uplift a person in a wheelchair from Broome Hospital. Upon arrival at the hospital I noted an elderly person in a wheelchair ‘parked’ outside the hospital door. When I asked them if they were the person I had to transport, it became apparent they was being uncommunicative. It could also be noted they appeared angry and truculent. Some Aborigine ladies in the vicinity verified this person was in fact the person I was looking for. So I loaded them into the taxi and transported them to the assigned address. Upon arrival there were a number of people who were drinking. They informed me they did not want the person, as they were all shortly heading off. They suggested another family in another street. There was no one at that address. I phoned the Hospital Manager to advise her of the situation and to request involvement of Social Work or Aboriginal Liaison Service. Shortly thereafter an ALO (aboriginal liaison officer) arrived, but I felt was of no practical assistance. I decided to return the patient to the hospital and advised the ALO of my intentions. The patient was returned to Broome Hospital around 40 minutes later.

The next day, I received a call from the hospital to again transport the same person to the first address as the previous day. At the hospital, before loading the patient into the taxi, I spoke to another ALO and informed them I was not happy transporting this patient unaccompanied. I felt there was not much interest shown. This time at the address there was obviously someone in the house, so I removed the patient from the taxi and wheeled them into the shade of the carport and informed the occupants that the patient was there. I then phoned the Duty Manager at the hospital to inform her and to request she note my actions in the patient's clinical file.

The following day, for the 3rd time in 3 days, I was again called to the hospital to uplift the same patient. On arrival at the hospital I informed the Duty Manager that I would not transport the patient without an escort.  A short while later, seemingly not particularly happy, an ALO escorted my taxi to the same address where I again deposited the patient in the apparent care of the occupants and the ALO.

I believe the Clinical Staff at Broome Hospital did what they could, but as a retired healthcare worker, I am of the strong opinion that in these and similar circumstances a greater involvement from Social Work/ALO's should be in the protocols. I do not believe taxi drivers should have sole responsibility in such cases

Responses

Response from Shane Bolton, Acting Operations Manager, Broome, Management, WACHS Kimberley

Dear Hospital Transport,

Thank you for taking the time to tell us this story as well as following up with the Duty Manager regarding your concerns for the patient’s welfare – this is appreciated.

Please be assured that we take your concerns very seriously which is why our Social Workers and Aboriginal Liaison Officers (ALO’s) are active participants in the process of discharging patients back into a safe environment. None the less, we strive to continuously improve and have shared your concerns with the team and asked for a review of the case and site protocols. I will follow up with you in regards to the outcomes.

Thank you again for taking the time to share with us this story.

Kind regards

Shane Bolton

A/Operations Manager

Broome

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