"Patient centered care"

About: Goulburn Valley Health

(as a relative),

My elderly father presented via ambulance from Numurkah Hospital to Goulburn Valley Health Shepparton with severe pain in his groin and vomiting. He had a suspected incarcerated/strangulated hernia. It was 2 hours following the arrival of the ambulance to the GV Hospital, before he saw a doctor and was prescribed pain relief and commenced on IV fluids to counter dehydration after x2 requests by family. His last oral intake was 12:00 pm. It was now 10:00 pm the following night. A CT scan of pelvis and abdomen was the requested for diagnosis. A lump was present in his groin and unable to be pushed back into abdomen. The doctor advised it was a medical emergency and he would contact the surgical team. My dad experienced severe pain and vomiting overnight and had surgical intervention the next day (Monday) at midday. The strangulated bowel portion was reported to be black, but after some time in theatre, the surgeon reported that some activity was seen, so cutting the section of bowel away was not needed, 

Following surgery, only a few hours later, a CT of abdomen and pelvis was conducted. My dad was in pain and he had this test post operatively for no reason. This was a diagnostic test, and I believe should have been done pre-operatively. 

As myself and my mum live 30-40 minutes drive from hospital it was harder to visit. My father stayed in hospital for 8 days. He experienced post operative complications. He was unable to eat for that week, only tolerating soft diet (tiny amounts) on the last 2 days of hospitalisation. During this time, it was almost impossible to be given information about treatment, diagnosis and prognosis and plan for my dad. There was a patient detail board next to my dad’s bed. It was not filled in. I called my dad, on his third day postoperative, he was nauseated and had a nasogastric tube and could not speak to me. I called the ward and the receptionist told me that his nurse was busy, but she was not allowed to give me information, despite being next of kin. And I could ask my father. I asked to speak to the nurse unit manager. I was told that the details of my dad were not familiar to the NUM, my best action would be to go to the hospital at between 0700-7:30 am the next day to see the doctors on their round and ask questions. I was unable as I had to get children to school. My mum went. The doctors didn’t do their rounds until 0900am. I found this unrealistic to do each day to get communication. There were nurse bedside handovers. Concerns reported during this time could either not be answered or were often dismissed and delayed. My father was malnourished, unwell, and had intermittent pain and vomiting. He needed an advocate. We were denied this right. I contacted the patient liaison officer. This person got back to me the next day and an attempt was made to fill a few details in on the communication board. This was still inadequate and outdated as the days went by. The current nurses name was generally updated, but otherwise it was unhelpful. I spoke with any doctor I could get to drop past the bed to get answers when I was visiting, often after they finished seeing another patient, not there to directly see my dad. This was helpful, but I had to push for this. My dad had postoperative complications. He had no advocate to speak for him. He was not well enough to speak for himself. His experience was adversely affected and he was getting conflicting information from all staff. Kitchen were bringing food when he was only on clear fluids and soft diet and when he was allowed to eat the food was poor and insufficient. Communications was very poor in all regards. I made an attempt to contact the Director of Nursing (DON). I made contact with the executive administration. I wanted to discuss the lack of patient centred care. I was told the DON was in meetings and would return my call the next day. I was told if this was not possible that administration would call me. I received no call. Yet, hanging of the hospital walls remains the Charter of patient rights. These rights, I feel were denied to my father and his family. In my opinion, it is no wonder that adverse events occur and unnecessary procedures and treatments ensue. 

Responses

Response from Patient Opinion Australia

The following response has been published by Patient Opinion Australia on behalf of Goulburn Valley Health.

Dear Advocacy is important,

Thank you for sharing your and your families’ recent experience at Goulburn Valley Health and I wish to sincerely apologise that these experiences were not positive.

Your feedback shows there are issues related to the care and treatment of your father which need to be reviewed. In addition, I am also concerned about the areas you highlighted regarding communication with you and your mother by our staff.

In order to better understand what has occurred, I would ask that you contact me directly at matt.sharp@gvhealth.org.au to provide the required details so I can arrange for a review to be carried out. I will then provide a response to you directly regarding the outcomes of this review.

My apologies once again thank you once again for sharing your experience. Please be assured Goulburn Valley Health takes such feedback seriously and we are committed to improving our care and services.

In the meantime, I hope your father is recovering well and please contact our Consumer Liaison Officer on 03 5832 2258 should you have any queries.

Kind Regards,

Matt Sharp

Chief Executive

Goulburn Valley Health

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