"I do not believe my sister is receiving adequate care."

About: Caulfield Hospital The Alfred

(as a relative),

My sister has cancer & has been under care at the Alfred for a number of years now. Due to the condition she developed some other complications. She was admitted to the Alfred to have ray therapy & a full spinal brace made & she was then transferred to Caulfield Hospital for rehab. Due to her age she was admitted to the aged care ward rather than to the rehabilitation unit. She has to lie flat except when she gets up for a shower with her brace on & to do physio which is mainly mobilisation with a walking frame. My expectation is that my sister would be up out of bed at least twice every day for physio & to have a shower as often as manageable. At present I believe she is up out of bed approx. 3 times a week with the occasional shower & a rare walk. She is trying very hard to get well & enduring chemotherapy 4 days on/off. My sister was independent prior to this incident & wishes to be independently self-caring again. I am concerned about her nursing care & also what I see as the almost non-existent rehabilitation. I would like to add that she is using her private health insurance for this very bad experience.

My sister developed a pressure sore & I have observed that pressure area management does not appear to be a priority at Caulfield, as it seems that the nursing staff rarely come near her except to dispense medications. It seems that unless she rings the buzzer her catheter bag is not emptied to the point where she is getting pain due to backflow. Not only does it appear that the unit is unclean, it would also appear that the food is barely tolerable & not suited to someone who needs a suitable diet to help promote bone repair. I have observed the nursing & other staff on my visits & I must say that I believe that the hand hygiene program has not reached this facility, because if it had I believe they would all fail. I am very disappointed in the care my sister is getting & have suggested to her that perhaps a private hospital might be better, but she thinks that her private insurance would probably run out fairly quickly due to the act that she has surrendered it to Caulfield hospital. This is not a good situation for anyone to be in & certainly not an articulate professional woman like my sister. She feels completely disempowered by this situation & can't wait to get out of this apparently very poorly managed establishment.

I would like a response to my post & expect that I will be contacted for further discussion.

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Responses

Response from Patient Opinion Australia

Dear Concerned for my sister,

Firstly let me say thank you for taking the time to share your concerns and more importantly for having the courage to speak out about the concerns you have for your sister's experience in one of Alfred Health's wards at Caulfield Hospital. We would encourage you to share your concerns with the nurse manager on the ward and the consultant responsible for your sister's treatment if you have not already done so.

As we have no way of contacting you, if you do not feel able to talk directly to the care team, then you can either use our "Let Me Know" program - http://www.alfredhealth.org.au/LetMeKnow/ - or you could make contact with our patient liaison officer at Caulfield on (03) 9076 6127. The patient liaison officer will take your call or return your call as soon as she is able.

Thank you again for bringing your concerns to our attention. Alfred Health values all feedback as it gives us a way to improve the care and service we offer our patients and their families.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Way

Chief Executive.

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