"Shocking palliative care experience"

About: Wantirna Health / Palliative Care Inpatient Unit

(as a parent/guardian),

My mother was admitted to Wantirna Palliative Care after 2 weeks in Epworth Hospital. She had developed secondary cancers in the bowel and lungs. She was first diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. We were initially happy that my mum would be in a palliative care unit and would receive high care in her final days. We were told by her oncologist that she had 7 to 10 days to live. My mother was moved to 4 different rooms in the 10 days that she was at Wantirna. On the 7th day, she was moved into a two bed ward with a male patient (my sibling and I were very upset as the male patient was mobile and our mother was incapacitated). This was after I argued about Mum being sent home after 7 days. The doctor had told her that she could go home without consulting with the family (this was after I explained to them on admission that my father also had cancer and was very unwell). I called a meeting (which the doctor did not attend) and insisted on a cognitive test. My mother was severely cognitively impaired and had lost 4 to 6 kilograms since being admitted. I don't know the exact weight loss as she was not weighed and her eating was not monitored. My mum died last year (10 days after being admitted) and it has taken me until today to actually write about what a shocking experience we had at Wantirna Palliative Care.

Responses

Response from Jo Gatehouse, Director, Quality, Planning and Innovation (Acute Health and Consumer Participation and Patient Experience), Eastern Health

picture of Jo Gatehouse

Dear 'unacceptable care',

I was so sorry to read your story on Patient Opinion. It was clearly a very difficult time for your mother, you and your family and your distress is still evident in your story.

Normally our Chief Executive Officer would reply to your story, but he is on annual leave at the moment and has asked me to respond on his behalf.

I would like to look into the care that was provided to your mother and your family so that we can review our processes and systems to identify any learnings and opportunities for improvement and share these with you.

If you would like to contact me directly on jo.gatehouse@easternhealth.org.au I can follow your concerns up with the program and staff involved in your mother's care.

Please be reassured that your personal details will not be shared on the Patient Opinion website.

Once again, I am very sorry to read about what happened and hope to hear from you very soon.

Kind Regards,

Jo

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