"Issues surrounding patient care"

About: Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital / Emergency Department Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital / Orthopaedic Surgery

(as a relative),

Recently my elderly mother was admitted to your SCGH (Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital) after a fall at a local shopping centre. She was brought to SCGH in an ambulance and her care by the two officers was wonderful. It was quickly realised that she had badly broken her elbow and would need surgery, which occurred the following afternoon. She was placed on a cardiac ward, possibly due to the fact that she has a pacemaker and takes blood thinning medication. Upon her return to the ward she was not feeling well, so did not eat anything other than a couple of dry crackers and she drank a cup of tea. 

The following morning at 6.30 am, she was told she was to be moved to the orthopaedic ward and was taken there around 6.45 am and placed in a corridor as there were no rooms. At 9.00 am she stopped an orderly and asked if she could have breakfast, as she had not eaten anything for almost 36 hours. She had seemingly been forgotten - possibly due to being in the corridor.

I arrived approximately 9.30 am and was told they hoped to have a room by 10 am. There were several doctors and other hospital workers speaking to my mother, however she struggled to hear who they were and what they were doing due to being in a noisy corridor. I left around 10.30 am and then at 12.45 pm took a call from my mother to tell me that when an Occupational Therapist (OT) had come to check her arm, it was discovered that it had been bleeding profusely. The plaster and bandages were removed in the corridor and the whole arm had to be plastered again. After this she was given lunch (she had not been given a menu to choose from) and was given a roll which she could not cut due to having only one working arm. She asked the girl to help her, but was told that she wasn't allowed to assist which meant she basically couldn't eat half of her meal.

When I returned at 3.00 pm my mother was still in the corridor and quite upset about this. She had been offered a room in a mixed ward, but given that she was unable to wear a bra, or have the hospital gown on properly due to the cast, she did not wish to be placed in this room. I spoke to a nurse who said she understood and appreciated why my mother did not wish to be in that room, but they had nowhere else to put her, thus she remained in the corridor. A discussion regarding moving her to a private hospital was apparently not an option, as the doctor said that if anything happened, it would be seen as negligence on his part. I asked him if he had contacted the heart doctor and he asked me why I thought that would be necessary. Given that her arm had, in his words - bled profusely - I thought this would be appropriate. He told me that her blood thinners were being given through her stomach, however apparently this did not occur. He told her that she had a choice of moving into a women's four bed room when it became available, or staying in the corridor. She agreed to the room. When I left at 4.15 pm I was told that this should happen at 7 pm at the latest. I called my mother at 7.50 pm to discover that she was still in the corridor - apparently it had taken longer than expected for someone to vacate the room.

After this phone call, I chose to ring the hospital and was put through to the receptionist on the ward. She was appreciative of my concerns and understood why my family and I were very distressed at the considerable lack of care and dignity given to our mother.  I requested that the receptionist get someone from the medical staff to call me regarding two issues - firstly, why my mother remained in a corridor for almost 14 hours and secondly why her arm, bleeding profusely, was unnoticed for hours. She had also not been given breakfast and at no time was offered a menu for any other meal. I was told that this would have been because she was in a corridor not a room. The receptionist told me it was unlikely I would be called that evening, however she would ask that I be contacted the following day. No-one bothered to call the following day, nor the next, nor the next. At 3 pm on the third day I called the hospital to make a formal complaint and was told to send an email outlining the concerns.  

My elderly mother, has paid private health insurance her whole life, yet in my opinion, was given sub-standard care and attention. Given she took the option to go in as a private patient, I believe the level of care provided was an absolute joke.  I find it abhorrent that my mother was treated so poorly, given a complete lack of respect and no dignity, particularly given her age. Whilst she was in the corridor an elderly man was put in the room opposite my mother in the corridor. When I politely questioned why he was given a room they said he was disoriented, so needed to be near the nursing station. The corridor was also near the nursing station - perhaps he could have been placed there! My mother was required to wash her face and clean her teeth in the basin located in the corridor which is used by the doctors and nurses. To get to a bathroom she had to walk down the corridor and then down another to access a general use bathroom. To me this is unacceptable and needs an explanation. I would defy anyone to find it appropriate that their elderly mother be treated in such a way and I believe that it would be clear that a mixed room for someone in her condition would not be appropriate. I am still awaiting a reply from the hospital and have been told it can take up to a month to hear anything. I do wonder - is this because there are so many complaints?

Responses

Response from Geraldine Carlton, A/Executive Director Sir Charles Gairdner Osborne Park Health Care Group, Sir Charles Gairdner Osborne Park Health Care Group

picture of Geraldine Carlton

Dear giraffesw95

Thank you for taking the time to tell us about the recent experience of your mother whilst she was an inpatient at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital. I sincerely apologise for this experience and how it made your mother feel. This is not in keeping with the expectation and values of our staff and our services and I am extremely sorry for the distress this has caused your mother and family.

I understand that you have been in touch with our Patient Liaison Service and wish to reassure you a full investigation of your concerns and issues is currently in progress. A member of our Patient Liaison Team will be in contact soon with the outcomes of this and to let you know how we plan addressing the issues you have raised.

Once again, I wish to express my sincere apologies for your experience and the impact that this had had.

Kind regards,

Geraldine Carlton

Executive Director, Sir Charles Gairdner Osborne Park Health Care Group

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