"Showing care and compassion."

About: Kerang Hospital

(as the patient),

I went to the hospital to have an ultrasound. There was a lady there with a very young child who was crying, vomiting and I felt was terrified. I asked her how long she had been waiting and she said 40 minutes. The staff weren't busy, in fact the waiting room was otherwise empty. Staff were standing around reading magazines and chatting, I presume waiting for a doctor. They could have at least taken the child and mother into another room and made the child comfortable. The poor little thing. I just didn't think it is was right - it's terrible. If that was my child I would have been a lot angrier.

Responses

Response from Megan Simmonds, Acute Care Services NUM, Kerang District Health

picture of Megan Simmonds

Dear starsp68

Thank you for your story. I can certainly appreciate how this situation must look for you, with no other people sitting waiting and a miserable child with their carer. When patients come in to the hospital because they are unwell they are assessed by a nurse, according to their symptoms. Taking a person into a hospital ward that is full of unwell people, can actually be a worse place for them. On the day you are speaking about the ward was full, every single bed was occupied, so the nurses were in fact very busy and the child and carer you refer to had already been assessed by a nurse and were waiting for treatment. It is quite a public place our hospital foyer, and I do apologise that this incident upset you, but again I would like to thank you for sharing your story, it helps us be aware of how things look from a non clinical perspective.

Kind regards

Megan

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Response from Chloe Keogh, Director of Clinical Services, Kerang District Health

picture of Chloe Keogh

Dear starsp68,

Thank you for taking the time to share your observations, and also share how you would have felt if the shoe had been on the other foot and you were the mother with a small child who was unwell requiring urgent care. Thank you also for explaining what you think would have been a better way of caring for this child and mother. When a nurse assesses a patient they give them a triage score, which determines a time frame within which they require treatment. This is an Australian system of assessment used in all hospitals. Our nurses who assess and treat patients through the "urgent care", also have a patient load in the ward, and so each time they go and treat a patient in urgent care, a patient on the ward is getting a little less care or attention. This creates a lot of worry and stress for the nurses, and is a constant juggling act, to treat the patient within the time frame, care for the ward patients, and on top of, as Megan said the infection control risks of exposing patients to new infections potentially.

I am really interested that you noted our nurses were standing around reading magazines and chatting, and presumably waiting for a Doctor. 95% of our documentation is done by paper, and so we are always looking at bits of paper- not usually magazines though. There is also a lot of talking, communicating about the care needs of the patients, changes in someone's condition and working out the plans for the patients care- again it may appear like chatting, but it is actually part of the nurses' everyday work. The Doctors visit once a day, usually in the mornings to see their patients who are admitted to the ward, and write their instructions, and to talk to the nurses about how the patients are improving, and then they go and work in the clinics up the street, most communication with them ( concerning patient care) during the day is by telephone or text message in between them seeing the clinic patients.

I am more than happy to discuss this observation that you had with you in person or by phone, to ensure that our community are receiving the best and safest care possible through Kerang district Health. I can be contacted on 54509210, or email ckeogh@kerhosp.vic.gov.au to make a time to discuss your concerns further.

Again, many thanks for taking the time to share your observations.

Kind Regards

Chloe

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