"What I felt was rude and inappropriate behaviour"

About: Sale Hospital

(as the patient),

My toddler was admitted to the paediatric ward with a very bad respiratory condition. My toddler had been very sick for days, barely eating, hardly sleeping. We were both exhausted and I was stressed because my toddler hadn't been improving like the doctors and nurses had hoped. They had finally been getting some sleep when lunch arrived. I thought it best to let my little one get some rest, so didn't wake them for their lunch, and it was taken again by the kitchen staff. When my toddler woke up, I asked the nurse if it would be possible for them to get another meal. She was very friendly and said that shouldn't be a problem. I told her my toddler eats just about anything as long as it's vegetarian. I waited while she rang the kitchen for a paediatric vegetarian meal. She was asked if I definitely wanted it. She said I did, but they insisted she ask me again if I really wanted it. She waited a minute and rang back saying that I did. When the meal arrived to my room I found the kitchen staff member was very abrasive. I opened the lid and saw that it contained meat. Confused, I said I'm sorry I don't think this is for me. She stormed out and yelled to the nurse - Which patient was this for? When the nurse confirmed it was for my room, I felt the woman stormed back in with the meal, and very aggressively said - Apparently it's for you! Before walking out in what I felt was a huff. The nurse hearing this exchange came back into the room and asked if everything was alright. I told her that the meal had arrived, but was full of meat and we couldn't have it. She said she would ring again and ask for a new one, but I told her not to bother. I was on the verge of tears and I couldn't handle seeing that woman again. I thought it wouldn't hurt for my toddler to wait til dinner for some food. I would just give them a bottle. When a different kitchen lady came for afternoon tea she saw the meal was untouched. She asked me why we hadn't eaten it, and I told her it's because we're vegetarian. She said - That's ridiculous, can't you just pick the meat out?

I can't believe I would get such an irresponsible answer. What if I had been allergic to nuts and she had told me to merely pick them out?!

Responses

Response from Mark Brennan, Food Service Production Manager, Central Gippsland Health We are preparing to make a change

picture of Mark Brennan

Dear Stressed Mum,

I am very sorry to read your story and hear that your experience with us was distressing for you and your child. At Central Gippsland Health, we endeavour at all times to provide the highest standard of care for our patients and clients and I am disappointed that this was not your experience on this occasion.

I want to assure you that I take your feedback seriously and would like to undertake an investigation into what occurred and why, to enable us to learn from what happened and make improvements.

We are currently rolling out a Patient Centred Care project across the health service which reiterates the importance of our communication with patients, putting them at the centre of everything we do. This education is scheduled to be implemented in the Food Services department in the coming month. The training includes a video, featuring existing CGH staff from a number of disciplines, illustrating how we introduce ourselves to our patients and ask permission to enter their space. It is about providing excellent customer service and doing all we can to ensure the needs of our patients are met. I am confident that this will have a positive impact on our patient care.

Another project we are currently undertaking is a redevelopment of the menu distribution and ordering system. This system will provide an integrated menu that will support dietary and allergy information to ensure all patients receive the right service at the right time.

If you are happy to contact me, we can undertake a more detailed review of your experience and take away some important learnings from your story about how and where to focus our improvement efforts.

I can be contacted on 0351438668 or by email on mark.brennan@cghs.com.au

Kind Regards

Mark

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