"Needs a clear, consistent and coordinated process for safe patient discharge."
Posted by ESIUOL (as ),
Unfortunately my elderly father, who has Parkinson's, broke his hip and ended up in Bundaberg hospital via the emergency department. As my mother, who has Chronic Rheumatoid Arthritis decided that it would be quicker to transport him via the car, both were waiting in the emergency department for 2 hours before my father was given Panadol. My father also did not understand that he was being treated as a private patient through his private health insurance. When the administrator was going through all the documents, he said that he wanted to be a public patient.
My father was lucky to be operated on that day, to have a full hip replacement. I did contact the surgeon's office to find out some information, however I was told by the administrator that because it had not been authorised by the patient, they could not tell me anything. I assured her that I was his daughter and needed to find out details about his surgery and aftercare. Unfortunately she did not provide any information due to patient privacy, which I believe is incorrect. Anyway, I emailed directly to the surgeon and he contacted me to discuss my father's situation. I must state that I found Dr D to be very helpful and was very informative in regard to my father’s aftercare. However, during the course in the rehab unit, my father was visited by many different staff members who were very pleasant but he did not know or remember who they were as they did not have identifiable names or say who they were. I advised my mother to give him a notepad to write things in as he could not remember anything due to the trauma and medication he was on. My father is a very positive and no-fuss type of person and tends to down play pain and not cause people to be put out. I had expressed this to the surgeon to be aware of as Dad tends to not communicate any problem when there is one. My father was kept in the rehab ward a few more days. When my mother was running back and forward from home to hospital it was difficult for her to know who to speak with and what had been said to him. The communication of what was said or provided was unclear to her. I contacted the Occupational Therapy (OT) department for a home assessment, which was completed. However the required OT handles & shower head replacement could not be installed for another week. My mother was told that transition care was going to be provided and this was reiterated by the discharge nurse. They were both waiting the following morning for someone to turn up to shower my father however no one turned up. Whilst waiting for discharge, my mother contacted me and I began making phone calls. After contacting My Aged Care I was informed that a social worker was supposed to be involved to initiate the process to provide home care aid. However, upon discussing this with the discharge nurse and requesting that they contact me, I was told that it was too late and that I or my mother had to coordinate after care with an external provider. I found the discharge nurse very rude, condescending and did not appear to listen to my concerns that the OT aids had not yet been installed but were booked in as the last job for the day. Therefore I felt he should not come home until after this. I requested that he stay in at least one more night, however this was refused and I was also told to go and help them. The discharge nurse mentioned that there were respite centres in Childers and Gin Gin ..."Unbelievable"! These are further for my mother to travel to and I work a great distance away. The discharge nurse had also told me that there was no patient transport to assist my father's transportation home and expected my mother to park in the carpark - that happens to be a long way from the discharge lounge - and get him in and out of the car and then into the house, going up stairs etc. I voiced my concern that my mother did not have the strength or capacity to provide the required support to help my father if he falls. I did not want both parents back in hospital together. She did not seem to care about that and seemed to be focused on getting him out of the bed. My mother contacted St John's and they told her that they provide this service for a small fee. Great! Thank you, St John's! ! ! Why did the discharge nurse not know this or provide this information to my mother? Anyway, I find that patient safety and the discharge of a patient who is susceptible to falls, to be very important. Also the document of services that was provided to my parents was out of date even though it had been "updated May 2016". Upon driving to one service provider listed, there was an incorrect address supplied as it was an empty building. I feel this is unacceptable! To have patient continuity of care there needs to be a clear, consistent and coordinated process to prevent re-admissions. I feel the hospital’s Key Performance Indicators (KPI) of Average Length of Stay has created an urgency to get patients out before all quality and patient safety is in place. I think this needs to be addressed ASAP! ! ! I have since heard similar stories with other friends. To put the cherry on top, my parents were not offered any information about how to put in "feedback or a complaint" if required. Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service (WBHHS), this needs urgent action for the residents and those in surrounding areas who will be visiting and using your service. Where is the service and patient care?