"Experience as carers for frail aged mother-in-law"

About: Peel Health Campus / Emergency Department

(as a carer),

My dear mother-in-law who is now in her 80s lives in an aged care facility in Rockingham. On an afternoon recently she fell over and hit her head hard in her nursing home which resulted in a hematoma on the back of her head. The nursing home staff followed the Aged Care Governance Procedures & called an ambulance, which had to take Mum to Peel Hospital as Rockingham was on bypass.

My husband (her son) & I arrived at the ED in Peel about 5:30 pm. I was disappointed at the lack of communication given to us and Mum; I know Mum has advanced Dementia but really this shouldn't matter. The nursing staff were doing hand over, not one of them came and said "hello my name is..." and I'll be caring for Mum from now on, if you need anything please ask. I even pointed this out by introducing myself with "hello my name is..." - I was perhaps being a little 'cheeky' here, but neither one of them reacted to me pointing out "hello my name is..." - this is a vital part of showing a patient/consumer/carer respect and is, in fact, a campaign for more compassionate care from the UK - https://www.hellomynameis.org.uk/.

Communication is just so vital in patient centred care & ensuring that the patient experience is the best that it can be. Kindness can go so much further than what we experienced.

The consultant on duty came and had a chat with us. She said that nursing home shouldn't have sent Mum to the hospital, in a sort of nice way, sort of not nice way. I may not always remember everything that was said to us that night, but I remember feeling that we had wasted the ED staff's time, and we could be better off doing something else rather than being in ED.

Sadly, when you're loved one is ‘sick’ or injures themselves it is not always at the right time in the right place, but health care for SMHS must always be delivered in the right place at the right time. Perhaps this is a learning thing for Peel ED staff in understanding the requirements procedures of nursing staff that work in aged care, and the challenges they face. The nurse to patient ratio is not as many as in hospitals. Perhaps ED staff need to spend some time in a nursing home environment to understand how it is to walk in other shoes! Especially since the patient cohort of the area would be a large part of elderly frail people.


Response from Margaret Sturdy, Director Medical Services, Peel Health Campus, Ramsay Healthcare

picture of Margaret Sturdy

Dear Disappointed Health Volunteer

Thank you for taking the time to post your story on the Patient Opinion website.

My heart sinks when I read your words, for you have so very beautifully described my mantra for all patients who attend our facility: "treat others how you would like to be treated, treat our patients how you would like your loved ones treated, and people will always remember how you have made them feel". Kindness needs to be our default behavior! I am so sorry that we have let you and your family down on this occasion.

I would treasure the opportunity to speak with you personally to get some further details so that I can take this information directly to the staff. I can be reached on 9531 8580.

Yours sincerely

Margaret Sturdy

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Response from Margaret Sturdy, Director Medical Services, Peel Health Campus, Ramsay Healthcare

picture of Margaret Sturdy

Dear Disappointed Health Volunteer

Thank you so much for calling me to discuss your mother in law's (Mum) care here at Peel Health Campus. It was my great pleasure to chat with you, and to identify with you opportunities for improvements in our communication, and the delivery of compassionate and empathetic care.

I am delighted to let you know that as a direct result of your post on Patient Opinion and our discussion we have already had a number of one to one conversations with our front line staff about introducing themselves "...hello my name is ..." along with stressing the importance of empathetic listening. We have also added "...hello, my name is..." as a specific item to our education calendar and as an item to our regular department meetings.

I am meeting with one of our residential aged care providers next week to try to gain a better mutual understanding of the roles, capabilities and limitations of each service, and to start mapping a pathway to provision of care in the most appropriate setting. That will be a long journey!

Thank you again for your frankness, kindness and wisdom at what I can only imagine is a difficult time for you and your family, with concerns about your loved Mum.

Kind regards


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