"One day as a patient"

About: Sunnybank Private Hospital

(as the patient),

I was recently admitted to Sunnybank Private Hospital for a gynaecological operation. When I arrived to the admissions they could not find me on the list and I had to spell my name three times and stand there waiting and waiting until they found my details. Then I saw another person at the admissions to go through some paperwork. Then I was told to take a seat and somebody from day admission will come and pick me up. When this staff member came I was told my partner was not allowed to come with me and he would be phoned one hour before I was ready to be picked up.

So I went with the nurse through double door to check in at another reception where again they could not find me in their paperwork and then I was told that I should not have come through this way as my surgeon likes to admit his patients to the rooms. So I was sent out to the same admission waiting area to be told somebody else will come and pick me up. So I called my partner to come back and explained that I am back where I was and he can wait with me further. There we waited until a nurse came to take me to my room where my partner was allowed to come with me. On the way to the room she stood me on the scales and checked my weight only. She explained that we are going to room no. - (if I remember correctly). When we arrived at the room there were two beds and two patients in them! The nurse looked at us and again looked at the room number looking surprised that there are two already occupied beds in the room.

She left us standing in the corridor and just walked off. In a few seconds another two nurses came back with her again looking in the room and not believing that there were two beds occupied. They all walked off and said they will be back again leaving us standing in the corridor without explanation. When one of them came back she said my room is being cleaned and it’s not ready yet and could I go to the coffee shop and wait there. This time I looked at her surprised, stating I had been fasting since 6.00am for my surgery and a coffee shop is probably not a best area for me to go to, but I said I will wait back in the admission area where she had picked me up from.

It was already 1pm and I remember my anaesthetist stating the day before that my surgery was scheduled for 1.30pm yet there I was a third time back in the admission still with my overnight bag and in my clothes - hungry, thirsty and anxious about my surgery still waiting. When it got to 1.15pm I started to get worried that I would not be ready for my surgery in time and I would miss the slot. Just at that time another nurse came to pick me up and said my room was ready.

On the way to the room she put me on the scales again and this time checked my weight and height even though I said to her my weight had been checked 30 minutes before. When we arrived in the room the housekeeping staff had finishing the cleaning in the room and it was there I received the first welcoming smile and first apology - from the housekeeper!!! In the next ten minutes the Enrolled nurse prepared me for theatre not explaining anything to me just doing her job.

Please understand, I am explaining the details as they happened and trying to stay objective. This is not a complaint just a matter of fact letter, to explain the day from my perspective. I have over 13 years of experience in the health field and this was my first experience at the receiving side of nursing care. I was scared, I was hungry and even though I knew the process of admission and preparation for theatre from my experience I was disappointed in the way I was treated. None of those staff members I met smiled at me, explained anything to me nor did they reassure me before my operation.

As soon as I was ready, exactly at 1.30pm an orderly came and took me to theatre. The theatre nurse was excellent so was the rest of the theatre staff, all introducing themselves and smiling and my surgeon came to check on me too and reassured me. The anaesthetist was running late but I was informed of this and the theatre nurse put the TV on and even gave me the remote control to take my mind off things while we all waited for the anaesthetist to arrive. When the anaesthetist came she explained what would happen and I felt ready for the surgery.

I woke up in recovery room at 4.15pm where there was a smiley nurse looking after me. My surgeon came to talk to me and explained that the operation did not go as planned which I found disappointing. However he said I can go home the same day. Then the anaesthetist came to ask me how was I feeling to which I said I was good and glad it’s all done. I was then left to rest and the nurse explained I could go back to the room but she was waiting for my ward nurse to collect me. I felt very thirsty and the recovery nurse gave me 10mls of sterile water to drink explaining that that was all she could let me have and as soon as the ward nurse came and got me they ccould give me water back in the ward. By about 5.15pm my blood pressure dropped and the nurse contacted the anaesthetist who ordered another bag of fluids upon which another nurse came to exchange the bag of fluids that had finished. I later looked at my blood pressure reading and realized the IV therapy has not been turned back on after she exchanged the bags so I asked the orderly that went by if he could call the nurse to re start my fluids. I apologized to her saying that in my work it comes automatically to me to keep an eye on blood pressures and fluids….

By about 6.00pm the ward nurse arrived to take me back to the ward. She explained that I could go home but I will need to walk, pass urine and have something to eat. She also said they generally keep patients for two hours. When we arrived back in the room she checked my blood pressure and my pad. And I did as I was told, had some food, walked a little despite feeling dizzy and passed urine. In the next hour and half AIN came and checked my blood pressure on one occasion only. It was still low but nothing was done about it.

When it was coming up to two hours another nurse came in the room and I said I would like to go home and she said she will bring me the prescription for antibiotics that my surgeon wants me to take. I explained to her I do not need it as he already gave it to me in the clinic. As she was not coming back I decided to walk to the nursing station to get my cannula removed and be discharged. Again another nurse said she was waiting for a doctor to write me up a prescription for antibiotics upon which I explained I had already told the other nurse I had this with me already. She sighed and told me you could have said and I again said I already told the other nurse. She then removed my cannula and gave me a discharge summary. I was finally going home after a stressful and scary day!!!

I wanted to explain in details my short experience in Sunnybank Private Hospital and if somebody will take time to read this experience I sincerely hope things will improve. I can only speak for myself that I felt there was a big lack of communication not only between the staff but also towards me as a patient. I felt things were being done twice and the time could have been used more efficiently by the nursing staff on that particular ward on ground floor (Sorry don’t remember the name of the ward).

I believe that empathy and a smile are what makes nurses stand out and show they care. I do not know if on that particular day it was rather busy with a lack of beds (as we all know is a day to day situation) and the nurse to patient ratio was not as it is meant to be as per Nursing Guidelines for whatever reason. However where I work we ask for feedback upon discharge of each patient, to improve the services and I was sincerely hoping that I would receive the feedback form from Sunnybank Private just to share the reality views not to criticise the hospital. As I said I do not see what was behind the lack of communication as well as the lack of empathy and smiles and all the waiting I had to do, but I wish this matter will get scrutinized and will improve for the sake of future patients. Thank you for your time in reading this.

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Responses

Response from Quality Manager, Sunnybank Private Hospital

Hi Kikula

I would firstly like to offer you and your husband a sincere apology regarding your experience during your admission to Sunnybank Private Hospital. It sounds most unpleasant and disorganised and that it is not what we want for our patients and their families.

The lack of communication appeared to begin at the front desk and continued throughout your stay until discharge. I have spoken with the Front Office Manager and also the Nurse Unit Manager of the Surgical Unit and highlighted the customer service and nursing care deficits documented in your feedback. All staff receive annual education regarding customer service and patient-centred care which teaches the importance of making patients feel welcomed, safe and cared for. Good communication skills are also taught in the program. As a response to your feedback, we will review our education program and make improvements as required to increase our staff’s awareness of the importance of good and effective communication with our clients and each other. We have a Clinical Handover process in place throughout the hospital, and following your comments about your room and antibiotics, this process will also be reviewed.

I would like to thank you for your positive comments regarding the friendliness of our Domestic and Operating Theatre staff and have passed these comments on to the managers to share with their staff.

I am aware that my response will not make a difference to the experience that you had at Sunnybank Private Hospital, and I do sincerely apologise for this. Please be aware that we have taken all of your comments on board, and your feedback has enabled us to critically review the service that we offer our patients and make improvements, and for this I thank you.

Should you require our service in the future, we look forward to meeting your needs and striving to provide the best possible service.

Kind regards.

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