"Post op problems"

About: Ipswich Hospital

(as the patient),

I had my surgery at Ipswich Hospital. Discharged with no complications. Care excellent pre and post op, however little information about how to manage side effects and post op issues such as eating and nausea. Only told not to lift or exercise for 6 weeks, have low fat diet, manage pain with panadol and nurofen.

One night, pain was difficult to medicate, despite 2 panadol and nurofen. Became hot without temp, red, uncomfortable, breathless (but didn't feel was enough to call ambulance). Was able to sleep. Next morning pain not subsiding despite pain meds and breathless and getting distressed, so called ambulance. Given oxygen and BP monitored on way to emergency. Ambulance officers responded very well. At emergency, was responded to quickly and appropriately, and saw doctor, who was very attentive, did blood tests, and, as my breathing and BP had stabilised, sent me for x-rays.

The doctor decided to move me to the Emergency Dept Short Stay Unit, where it was quieter. He requested I have hourly observations. I immediately noticed the difference in the attitude of nursing staff, once I was moved here. The two nurses seemed unhappy that I was there, and continued to loudly voice this, speaking about me while in front of me at the nurse's station. They kept complaining about me being on hourly observations, and that the doctor should have sent me to ICU for that. The complaints continued after a nurse took my observations, and kept saying my BP was normal, so why the hourly observations. It felt quite distressing to hear them complain about me, after I had been suffering breathing issues and pain, enough to admit me to emergency, and had only just had my gallbladder out a couple of days before. The two nurses were mostly very abrupt and very indifferent towards me while I was there. They ignored me for ages while I was trying to get their attention to go to the toilet or other requests, even though walking past or right in front of me. I was having trouble with abdo discomfort, and with great difficulty tried to pull myself off the bed to find my buzzer, but couldn't locate it. I had been put on a drip. I felt helpless and unwanted, and a nuisance to them. I was sore and having a little trouble walking, and a bit disoriented. When I asked how to find the toilet, one of the nurses was very abrupt saying I could walk, and I could find it. She didn't seem to care if I was OK. These two nurses never once asked if I was in pain and needed a med to make me more comfortable. They were nearly always at the nurse's station in front of me, chatting amongst themselves and to other staff about the Christmas party after their shift, and how they couldn't wait to clock off. They were never run off their feet or even very busy, so I didn't see any excuse for the way they treated me rudely, and brushed me off.

When the doctor appeared, both of the nurses, in turn, confronted him about the hourly observations. They were obviously unhappy about it. He seemed to have to defend his decision, saying that it was because the patient needs it. I was only metres away when this happened, so the nurses had no respect for privacy, and that my doctor was being questioned right in front of me, which was embarrassing. The doctor was very caring and professional, and came within a short time to follow up and give me his findings and to advise me about management when released.

The nurse's indifference, and ignoring a simple request I asked for, only got worse close to handover. The nurse who did my observations before leaving her shift treated me as though invisible, completely ignored me speaking to her, and the other nurse had said to me that she would see to my request after changeover. Changeover seemed to consist of some information given about patients to new nurses, but otherwise, more chatting re the Christmas party, and standing around in front of me near the nurses' station. It was by no means hectic or even busy. After a while, I asked one of the new nurses on shift for my request but, although courteous, I was brushed off again with "after changeover", but they had already seemed to have been doing changeover for ages.

Fortunately, a new male nurse arrived to do observations on me after a while, and was very happy to fulfill my request from what must have been an hour ago. It took him 5 minutes to complete my request (for a simple cup of tea), he was caring in his manner towards me, and I was most grateful. It made me feel like a person, after the behaviour of the first two nurses, who had made me feel an unwanted nuisance. I had been a good patient, non complaining, low maintenance, and always respectful to all staff at all times.

The final nurse to do my observations as I was released was an improvement on the first two. She was attentive, made sure I had someone coming to get me, directed me to the exit personally, and told me to take care.

I know nurses often work long hours, but I would have expected more abruptness in emergency, yet they were far more human towards me. This short stay unit was very uneventful and quiet, and they were hardly stressed. The care I received in day surgery and recovery unit was exceptional and commendable. And they had grumpy, sore and nauseated patients, waking from surgery to deal with. Staff went above and beyond, and were very kind and interactive. Why is there such a huge gap in the level of care and professional attitude between nursing staff of the hospital? Are staff not all supposed to be following high standards and procedures....the same care model?

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Responses

Response from Joy Wyatt, Senior Consumer Liaison Officer, Clinical Governance, Queensland Health - West Moreton

Dear Awsome1

It is wonderful to hear of your positive experience in the Day Surgery and Recovery Unit. Like you, we think our staff do an amazing job and we are proud of the empathetic and reassuring care they provide.

After such a lovely experience it must have been really disappointing to receive the care you described in the Short Stay Unit. Supportive and appropriate communication between staff and patients is imperative to creating positive health outcomes, and this message is often reinforced in staff meetings and in-house training sessions. Your feedback is an important reminder about the impact of poor communication on a patient’s experience and we will make sure that story is widely shared.

If you would like to speak with us further about your concerns, you are welcome to contact the Consumer Liaison Office on 0409 275 503.

We hope you are on your way to a full recovery and wish you all the best for the holiday season.

Kind regards

Consumer Liaison Office

West Moreton Hospital and Health Service

15/12/2016

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