"Poor administration and lack of information"

About: Box Hill Hospital Maroondah Hospital

(as a relative),

my parent has had two operations, 1 at Box Hill and 1 at Maroondah. They subsequently have been admitted to Maroondah for another issue. The two times my parent was operated on they were not given their normal medications and post op their medications were no sent to the ward for two days. As my parent is on anti depressants it was imperative they were given these. We informed staff at both hospitals of the importance but I believe nothing was done and I felt like the staff we dealt with constantly blamed someone else for the lack of knowledge. On all three occasions upon discharge we were not given any information about changes in medication or reasons why. Also after my parent's second operation I believe a paddle was used on them for a heart issue in recovery, and when we questioned staff about the mark we were not told of the issue. We only found out after asking a GP to look at the mark on their chest. On my parent's latest discharge we were told verbally by nursing staff to continue their antibiotics, which we then find have not been prescribed. My parent's other medications have been altered without their, or our, knowledge and no discharge letter or information was sent with them.

I find all this and many other incidents to be totally unacceptable especially when dealing with an aged person with early dementia. The only excuse we hear from any staff we have come in contact with is we're really busy. Sorry guys that is not good enough, these are people's lives you're too busy to deal with.

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Responses

Response from Alan Lilly, Chief Executive, Eastern Health

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Dear peedoff

Thank you for sharing your story on Patient Opinion. In summary, I agree that what you experienced is not good enough and I can assure you that busy or not, we have higher expectations of our staff and I am very sorry that you have experienced Eastern Health in this way. I also understand your concern with regard to the added complexity of caring for someone with dementia.

As a result of your feedback, I am firstly going to verify that our Eastern Health procedures are clear for all staff with regard to the administration, storage and transfer of medications, as well as information requirements for patients and families on discharge. Once I have completed this, I will ensure that we use your story as an example of the importance of making sure that we get this right with every patient, every time and reinforce our procedures with staff.

I also note your comment with regard to the "paddle" and as I am unsure of the nature of the surgery, it's hard for me to comment but if you would like me to follow this up specifically, please email me directly at alan.lilly@easternhealth.org.au and I will be glad to seek more detail for you.

When a loved one or friend is unwell, I fully get that this should not be further exacerbated by those that are charged with caring and aiding recovery and I am very sorry that we have added to your burden at this time.

Please be reassured that your feedback will make a difference and I do hope that your parent is recovering well from their surgery.

Kind regards and thanks again for sharing your story, Alan Lilly

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Response from Alan Lilly, Chief Executive, Eastern Health We are preparing to make a change

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Dear Peedoff

Hello again. As I had committed to do, I have since discussed this with our Director of Pharmacy, Mr Nick Jones. Nick is also reinforcing these procedures with staff as there is confusion around this from time to time.

This is Nick's response:

Thanks for your feedback. Ensuring your parent gets the medication they are usually taking is some I think is important too.

Without details of your parent’s case, it’s difficult to tell exactly where the problem has occurred but here is some information I hope you find useful.

When someone is admitted to hospital, their usual medication should be recorded and documented on the medication chart. Keeping an up to date written list of medications which includes the name, dosage and times that it is taken is the best way to ensure that accurate information is recorded (even if your parent is unsure of the dosages or you are not around to pass this information to the right person.).

If the medication isn’t available at the time it’s needed, then it should be ordered by a nurse from the hospital pharmacy (or taken from a another area). We even have an on-call service for urgent medicines. There are clearly documented procedures on this. Pharmacy has recently done a promotion to nurses at Maroondah Hospital to ensure they know what to do if a medicine isn’t available.

When a pharmacist visits a patient, one of the first things they’ll do is ‘recheck’ the medication list and ensure that all medicines have been charted correctly (this is called medication reconciliation). At the moment, pharmacists don’t routinely do medication reconciliation on weekends. This is something we are changing to ensure the patients with the most complex medications do get to see a pharmacist, 7 days a week.

I also agree, information regarding changes to medications should also be passed on.

If you should have concerns about any medication issue in the future, I’d strongly recommend you ask to speak to the ward pharmacist who can assist in resolving the problem quickly. Thanks again for your feedback. If you wish to contact me directly, you can at nick.jones@easternhealth.org.au.

I hope you do find Nick's response helpful and reassurance that we are following-up the matters which you have raised.

Kind regards and thanks, Alan Lilly

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