"Frustrated that I can't see my father's records"

About: St George Hospital

(as a relative),

My father is in hospital and is currently bed ridden, not because he wants to be, but because they don't seem to let him get out of bed. He has had a fall previously, however he now has a sensor pad under him, and every time he tries to get out of bed, a nurse, or someone will come in and say, what are you doing out of bed, now back to bed. This is frustrating my father as it means that he can't get his mobility back, and be able to move around. I don't know why they won't let him out of bed, except to suspect that they are frightened they will be sued if he falls again.

On top of this, I believe they have misdiagnosed him with dementia. I have asked for the file to see what tests were done to justify this diagnosis. I believe that there are numerous occasions when dementia is misdiagnosed. They ask the older people patronizing questions, and then, through frustration of being asked these questions, the person gives them a silly response, the medical staff say, see dementia. When the responses given by patients, is due to frustration, to being asked - what is your name, or your date of birth. In my dad's case I think his answers were because he hated being patronized.

I have asked to see his records and the hospital is refusing to give them to me - yet the NSW Records & Privacy Information Act, Section 26. 1 suggests that it is illegal for them not to give it to me, not, as they tell me, that it is illegal for them to give it to me.

Finally, why do doctor's not have last names anymore. I never see the surname of a doctor, and when I asked what it is, they seem to be offended. Yet it is extremely unprofessional, especially when you ring the hospital and ask for Dr So and So, and the reception staff say, Dr So and So, who? I don't know, because they don't seem to have surnames. When did this start to happen?

Responses

Response from Kim Olesen, Director of Nursing & Midwifery, South Eastern Sydney LHD

Dear Valuer

Thank you for providing your feedback on Patient Opinion.

I acknowledge the frustrations you have described in your post and I would like to apologise at the outset regarding your experience.

I would like to convey my apologies to both you and your father for the previous fall he has had at our hospital and can assure you that the sensor pads have been implemented to ensure your father’s safety.

Most doctors at St George Hospital are referred to by their last name, however if this is a difficult name to pronounce the doctor will sometimes choose to be referred to by a name that has been shortened and is easier to pronounce. Please accept my apologies if this has caused miscommunication between you and your father’s treating medical team.

In response to your concerns regarding accessing your father clinical records, I can advise any bedside health record remains confidential and access to the health record by family or other visitors is only permitted with supervision by clinical staff and with consent from the patient (or their authorised representative). This enables staff to provide a full explanation about the health information contained in the record and to avoid potential misunderstandings or misinterpretation arising with regards to diagnosis and treatment. If you are requesting further access, including copies of the health record, you may be referred to the hospital’s Information Service.

I encourage you to contact Ms Louise Moore, Patient Experience Manager for St George Hospital on louise.moore@health.nsw.gov.au so that she can arrange to speak with you and address your concerns.

Kind regards

Kim

Director of Nursing & Midwifery

South Eastern Health Service

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Update posted by Valuer (a relative)

1. My father and I have no problem with my father falling at St George Hospital on a previous stay, it was purely accidental.My father's complaint is that once he has been noted as a 'fall risk', staff find it easier to keep him bedridden. This has had a negative effect on his mobility.

2. I refute the claim 'most doctors at St George Hospital are referred to by their last name' -this is simply not the case.

3. Regarding Medical Records-I strongly suggest medical staff be educated as to the existence of the HEALTH RECORDS and INFORMATION PRIVACY ACT 2002 s 26(1).

I am amazed at the lack of knowledge in relation to this matter.

I have provided signed written request in this regard, together with a letter of designated authority signed by both my father and myself. I await a response.

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