"Communication between health professionals and across health centres"
About: Box Hill Hospital / Emergency Department Box Hill Hospital Emergency Department Box Hill 3128 Box Hill Hospital / Intensive Care Unit Box Hill Hospital Intensive Care Unit Box Hill 3128 Maroondah Hospital Maroondah Hospital Ringwood East 3135 Maroondah Hospital / Emergency Department Maroondah Hospital Emergency Department Ringwood East 3135 Peter James Centre Peter James Centre Burwood East 3151 Wantirna Health Wantirna Health Wantirna 3152
Posted by communication breakdown (as ),
My father was a strong, intelligent and reasonably healthy a few months ago. Within a few days, his behaviour became challenging. My mother rang one morning because she was quite distressed and unable to manage him. We sent him to Maroondah Hospital in an ambulance. He was admitted to undergo assessment and placed on a general ward. Two days later he 'escaped' from the ward and walked an extremely long distance home without anyone knowing. The family were out looking for him but he managed to get home. He found the admission to Maroondah distressing, constantly worrying that the alerts over the microphone meant that someone in the family was dying. It seemed Maroondah Hospital was unable to provide my mother with any support so a few days later she took him to his local GP. The whole time we were in the GP's room Dad was chatting away. The GP turned to him and said he needed to go back to Maroondah for assessment or he could go to Box Hill Hospital. He chose Box Hill. While he was in the Emergency Department he was increasingly agitated, so eventually, he was sent to Peter James Centre for observation and assessment. His behaviour became increasingly agitated and he was breaking things and he told us he was in a war zone and the only way his family could survive was for him to die. It was heartbreaking. After a week or so he was assessed as having pneumonia. He was then sent back to Box Hill Hospital. While he was in BHH his pneumonia turned septic and his heart started going bad (AF - atrial fibrillation). He was placed in the Intensive Care Unit at this stage as they were having to call an emergency code on a regular basis. From this time on the family kept telling the doctors and nursing staff that his behaviour was a new thing and he had been a strong and reasonably healthy man. We also told them about our experience with Maroondah so he wouldn't end up in an unsafe environment. We had to tell them the story every day. After over a week in the ICU, he was transferred to a regular ward at BHH and we continued to tell them about his walk home from Maroondah and that he had been reasonably strong and healthy before all this happened. It was several weeks into his care. Eventually, they assessed him as medically stable and referred him for rehab. Despite our many warnings, he was sent to an open ward at Wantirna Health. I spent half the day on the phone that day trying to have him moved to a more safe environment at Peter James. But we also spent the day with Dad, trying to keep him safe, to not give him a chance to walk home. His transport started in the morning that day, and we got him safely to Peter James by that evening. He had just come out of the ICU! We were exhausted, my mother could barely walk and my father....well I do believe he slept well that night. We are all still recovering; frankly, we are all exhausted. The problem was twofold. There seemed to be a distinct lack of communication between staff about the whole story, and my mother couldn't get information about what was happening. I had to ring and persist until our concerns were heard. I can only hope Dad and Mum recover. The care day to day was wonderful. But every day we had to tell the staff our story. In addition, the barrier in communication was made much harder by, we believe, the staff standing behind their computers, not looking up or providing a safe environment for Mum to ask questions or answer questions. As time progressed, that communication barrier became even more of a problem.