"My parent's latest hospital experience"

About: Armadale Hospital Armadale Hospital / Colyer Surgical & Medical Ward Armadale Hospital / Medical Admissions Unit

(as a relative),

My parent is a frail, elderly person with numerous problems and has been hospitalised a couple of times recently. Last week they again were taken by ambulance to hospital, this time it was to Armadale Hospital. Having been through other, more distant hospitals only a short time ago, we were pleased that our parent would be closer and more easily accessible for family by being in Armadale.

The experience, however, was far from pleasant.

I am still too angry to express their full story as I want to be objective and stick to the facts, so here are my issues as encountered during their stay.

1. An incorrectly placed cannula that bled onto the floor in the Medical Assessment Unit...which for a person on blood thinners and having heart/renal failure was a terrifying event. Fearing they may bleed out caused them to panic and send their monitoring into alarms. Very little communication to explain to them that they weren't in peril or to soothe their building anxiety during or following the event also did not help.

2. They were left unattended in the shower and had an incontinence aid placed on the floor outside the bathroom door, out of reach.  After the shower and waiting for assistance, my parent dried themselves off and made their own way back to their bed before a staff member appeared. 

3. Unless I was there to press staff about the medication they were receiving and the purpose for it, there was little to no explanation given directly to them - they manage their own medication at home with no problems. Many of their questions about their treatment, medication or general wellbeing were ignored which left them imagining things were being kept from them. 

4. Staff standing at the bottom of patients' beds discussing their charts and failing to show even a slight courtesy toward the patient themselves. I feel it is a very non-empathetic approach which on rudeness.

5. The Transit Lounge. This last humiliation I feel seriously needs addressing! On discharge, we found people who I believe had sat in this discharge lounge for 6-7 hours before receiving prescriptions and being allowed to leave.  I felt the level of frustration and utter exasperation in that room was palpable. After hours of being there with no information, I approached the Nurse Station whereby I was given another patient's information by mistake by the attendant.  Upon disputing the facts I was being given for a full 5 minutes at the attendant's window, they realised they were reading another patient's file to me and quickly found my parent's.  No apology, no embarrassment on their behalf....just one of those things it seemed.  I was furious but as calm as I could stay and we were finally seen to about an hour later as the whole area was being closed for the day.

My overall feelings are that Armadale operates like a human cattle yard.  I feel people are shunted around, with very little respect or dignity shown toward them and patients have little way of changing this.  Upon discharge, my parent stated they would die at home rather than be taken back to Armadale Hospital. That said it all to me.


Response from Diane Barr, Executive Director, Armadale Kalamunda Group

picture of Diane Barr

Dear violethx54,

Firstly let me sincerely apologise to you and your parent.

The experience you describe sounds dreadful. It is far from the expected standard of care we aim to deliver.

I have asked for an immediate review of your concerns. The environment, the lengthy period in the transit lounge, the communication and as you describe, the lack of respectful communication.

Our aim is to provide compassionate and quality care to every patient, carer and family member. It is evident we have many lessons to learn from your families experience.

Given the significance of your feedback I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you personally to further discuss your feedback. This will assist me in fully understanding what we can do to improve the situation you describe. If you would like to meet please contact our Consumer Liaison Officer on (08) 9391 1153 or AKG_ConsumerLiaison@health.wa.gov.au to facilitate a time suitable to you.

Please accept my sincere apology to your family for this experience

Di Barr

Executive Director

Armadale Kalamunda Group

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