"Not happy with service"

About: Royal Perth Hospital

(as a relative),

Hi. One of my family members - a traditional aboriginal man was transported into Royal Perth Hospital (RPH) via the Royal Flying Doctors Service (RFDS) after an accident. During his stay, he was not seen by an Aboriginal Health Liaison Officer (AHLO) on the first day. I then emailed the coordinator of the AHLO after talking to my family member, asking if he had been seen and was his cultural and personal support being addressed. His pregnant partner was with him and not able to find appropriate accommodation and for the first night slept in the park when asked to leave the hospital on visitors closing time. I asked the coordinator to see that he be seen by the AHLO, as he has some complex issues that need addressing. The coordinator replied, yes it will happen when the AHLO responsible for that ward returns to work.

This did not happen. The day after, he was not seen and his partner had to find an alternative place to sleep, the ward CNC (clinical nurse consultant) called me and explained the situation, so I inquired if the visitors room on level 5 is available and thankfully she was able to stay there.

The next day I was called by my family member regarding not knowing what was going on with his care, so I called the AHLO and was able to speak to the AHLO who was in charge of that ward. I asked if the AHLO had seen the patient and their response was that they were busy and that they were writing up his discharge papers. I again asked if the AHLO had seen him to discuss his personal and cultural needs and their response was no.

So I questioned where were they discharging him to and is he going home with his partner. The AHLO's response was vague and they stated that he was being discharged to the Perth community, so he could attend follow-up appointments. I again asked have you spoken to my family member to see if this suited him and his partner and I was told no.

I think that to organise a discharge without discussing the options with the client is a bit strange to say the least. I also understand there were other circumstances that were out of the control of the AHLO, although I thought with more discussion it would have been an easier process.

RPH is currently investigating the number of Aboriginal clients that are reported as DWMA (discharge against medical advice) and non-shows at follow up appointments . I think the AHLO team would be trying to minimise as much confusion and discomfort as possible to all Aboriginal Clients who attend RPH.

Responses

Response from Grant Waterer, Deputy Director of Clinical Services, Royal Perth Bentley Group

picture of Grant Waterer

Dear Traditional Aboriginal Man,

I apologise for the length of time taken to respond to your patient opinion. I would also like to apologise to your relative’s pregnant partner for not being offered appropriate accommodation for her first night in Perth. This was an awful situation for his partner to be placed in. While I am aware that an apology was made to your relative and his partner at the time, and accommodation was provided at discharge, it is unacceptable that this situation occurred.

The circumstances that led to his partner not receiving accommodation support have been reviewed, and our staff have since been made aware of options that are available late in the evening. Further, our Aboriginal Health Liaison Officers try their best to see all Aboriginal patients on their admission day, especially those from outside of Perth.

I have been advised that your relative has been provided follow-up outpatient care back in his community and I hope that he has recovered well.

Thank you for bringing this situation to our attention so that we are aware of this gap in staff knowledge and take action to ensure that this situation does not happen again.

Yours sincerely

Dr Grant Waterer

Acting Executive Director

Royal Perth Bentley Group

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful

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