"Family members not having a voice."

About: Royal Perth Hospital / Trauma & Reconstructive & Plastic Surgery Services

(as a relative),

My sibling & I spoke to the Trauma Doctor, Social Worker & Nurse Coordinator about our elderly parent not being physically or mentally capable of taking care of them self at that point in time. Despite our concerns our parent was discharged too early without adequate services in place to support them. At discharge we were handed a discharge summary & my parent's medications by a relief nurse who hadn't looked after my parent. No member of the Trauma Team was available to talk through my parent's discharge or required follow up. There were a number of gaps in the discharge summary which we had to follow up with the Trauma Team.

We had a horrendous 5 days of my parent being in severe pain at home. My sibling & I were carers for our parent 24/7. By the end of the 5 days we were all exhausted. My parent was re-admitted to RPH as they were misdiagnosed with a spinal injury.

My parent has a fractured right shoulder (this is their dominate hand) & is in a sling, a fractured vertebra & is in a brace as well as a fractured toe & their foot is in a boot. My parent is taking strong medication & therefore tends to become disorientated. How as family members can my sibling & I communicate our concerns & wishes in terms of our parent's care plan? How do we stop my parent from being discharged too early without adequate services in place?

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Responses

Response from Aresh Anwar, Executive Director, Royal Perth Bentley Group

picture of Aresh Anwar

Dear Exhausted,

Thank you for coming forward to tell us about the experience and concerns you have with your parents’ care and discharge from us. Firstly, I would like to unreservedly apologise for the standard of care that you describe. I know falls significantly short of expectations of both the team and organisation. I would also like to apologise to you and your family for what has undoubtedly been an exhausting process for you and your family.

There are several key issues in the care and experience that you describe that need investigation. This is critical in order to ensure that they don’t happen again. I appreciate that I am once again asking for your time and understanding but I would be grateful if you would consider contacting me confidentially on 9224 2219 so that I can explore and investigate your concerns more fully.

Once again with profound apologies to your parent, yourself and family.

Dr Aresh Anwar

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Update posted by Exhausted (a relative)

Dear Dr Anwar

I will definitely be contacting you. The surgery performed on my elderly parent's shoulder has failed. There is talk about more surgery being performed. We have conflicting messages as to what the procedure will entail, either replacement of the plate or a complete joint replacement. Again, medical staff are not communicating with family. My elderly parent is on pain medication & tends to become disorientated & confused. Hence they are not sure what is happening & therefore we are also unsure what is happening.

As family we believe if the Trauma team had effectively assessed & treated the spinal injury then the shoulder injury would've been managed conservatively instead of evasively. Instead we're now in the situation where our elderly parent is having a second surgery in less than 10 days.

I would appreciate the medical team (not nursing) to meet with family to discuss why the first surgery failed & why the second surgery is necessary. Our parent has multiple injuries which are impacting on each other. It seems the injuries are being treated independently of each other. We would like to be assured our parents injuries are being considered holistically by the various Consultants & their teams.

Regards

Exhausted

Response from Aresh Anwar, Executive Director, Royal Perth Bentley Group

picture of Aresh Anwar

Dear Exhausted,

Thank you very much for taking time here. As you will be aware we have reflected on some of the challenges you raised.

I am aware you met the trauma team when your parent was an inpatient and we continue to drive the need for better communication and ensuring that families are comfortable at the point of discharge.

We currently have a formal programme to try and pick this up through the hospital although it will take time for this to become fully embedded. We hope that your parent’s recovery continues.

Yours sincerely

Dr Aresh Anwar

Executive Director

Royal Perth Bentley Group

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