"Aftercare on leaving hospital"

About: Bunbury Hospital Collie Hospital Silver Chain WA

(as the patient),

I find it absolutely disgraceful that I could or someone else could be lying on the floor at home with no help or assistance after being discharged from hospital after what I believe to be major surgery.

As a senior widower living alone with a married adult child (with an extremely busy life) living a few hours drive away, I thought it expedient to request Home Care Services such as Silver Chain and possibly Home Help on being discharged from hospital. I was told this could not be done from Collie District Hospital and the request must be made at Bunbury Regional Hospital. This I find to be disturbing to say the least as living in the Collie area where it is the local services that are being used.

Moving on, I did a presentation at Bunbury Regional Hospital requesting for the Home Care Services and reiterated this request at least two more times whilst in hospital. I would also like to add that the nursing staff along with Allied Health and Support Staff were extremely good. Better and more efficient than treatment that I have received when I was in Private Health Cover. However one observation, nursing staff are pushed to the limit being, in my opinion under staffed.

On being discharged around mid morning and after visiting the pharmacy I arrived home just after midday. My neighbour who had given me a lift home went off to work and I was left by myself. Obviously, I was tired, I had taken my medication as detailed  and consequently fell asleep for a few hours. I was woken by my neighbour inquiring to see if I was OK. The answer was fine thank you. I then had something to eat and drink followed by my medication. As I once again was feeling weary and in a little pain I went to bed. On getting up the following morning I did expect a visit from Silver Chain but nothing. The following day's routine was exercising, medication as detailed and obviously the pain management and still no Silver Chain. It is now the start of the week and on reading some of the paperwork I needed to ring My Aged Care, which I did. The answer I received was I needed someone to visit and be assessed. I can only say, what a load of bulls***. Aged people who have had a knee reconstruction is now commonplace, their needs are blatantly obvious  and a visit to assess is ridiculous after the event, especially as I had been most persistent on asking for this service.

The following day I arranged for a neighbor to take me to Collie River Medical  where my wound/dressing was evaluated by the practice nurse and I was given the all clear.

 My point is, that I could or other clients could have been lying on the floor at home  (in my case 4 nights) if they were not checked upon by neighbors/friends family etc.

It does happen that some people are reclusive, some do not have friends or good neighbors and this is quite common.

I appreciate and fully understand money is in short supply within the health department and with WACHS but I feel a few simple changes and common sense on something which is standard should prevent people falling through the cracks.

Thank you for reading this and in my opinion the majority of your staff are kind, caring loyal people.


Response from Lucy Murphy, A/District Manager, Wellington, WACHS - South West

Dear octansdz96,

On behalf of the Collie Hospital team I would like to sincerely apologise that you were not provided with a timely referral to Silver Chain services. The usual practice is for the discharging hospital to complete all referrals or to inform local sites that the services were required. As this was an elective procedure all referrals should have been completed prior to admission to ensure that everything was in place on discharge.

In response to your significant concerns I will work with Bunbury Hospital to develop a process to ensure that all referrals are in place and that all services are confirmed prior to discharge. In addition I am working with Bunbury staff to trial a process where small sites get alerted when local people are discharged home following an admission. This will allow us to identify potential at risk people that we can contact to ensure that their discharge is going well and that there are no gaps in their care requirements.

I am happy for you to contact me on my mobile if you wish to discuss your concerns more and so I can keep you informed of the progress of the changes being made to prevent this from happening to someone else. My number is 0438 104 845.

Your sincerely,

Lucy Murphy

A/District Manager Wellington (Collie, Harvey and Donnybrook)

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