About: Princess Alexandra Hospital Princess Alexandra Hospital Woolloongabba 4102 Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital / Emergency Department Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital Emergency Department Herston 4029
Posted by maybewewon (as ),
About a month ago my spouse started having delusional thoughts and being paranoid. Concerned, we went to the GP. The GP was not helpful apart from suggesting us to go to the hospital Emergency Ward.
When my spouse was admitted to the Emergency Department at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital (RBWH) it was after-hours. You would expect in an Emergency Department you would receive emergency care independent of the time of day. But no, there were no doctors on duty. My spouse had to wait until next the morning when doctors were available to see any patients and was eventually seen next day after mid morning!
The waiting environment in the ward was horrible in my opinion. There were not enough beds for patients to sleep/lie down. Many patients, mind you all having mental issues/drug problems, were sitting/lying down on the floor or trying to sleep on the chairs. There was constant noise, intermittent shouting. The waiting area was unwelcoming with bright white lights and uncomfortable seats. I felt that the staff had little concern for treating patients, their focus was following procedure and ensuring safety. I believe a healthy person would start getting sick after waiting in there for a couple of hours.
Eventually we were seen by a doctor, who made an initial diagnosis of psychosis, and told us that my spouse would be admitted to the hospital for treatment and tests. However, there were no beds available in the hospital so we were told to wait for half an hour. Then another half an hour. Eventually my spouse was transferred and admitted to the Princess Alexandra (PA) Hospital closer to midnight and when this happened I was not informed. I had to call RBWH to find out that my spouse has been transferred.
When I arrived at the PA Hospital in the morning I found out that my spouse was somehow let out of the ward and the nurses were scrambling to bring them in. So, I had to talk to and convince my spouse to go back. I imagine that if I wasn't there at the right time security would forcefully bring my spouse back in. No need to imagine how traumatic that could have been in that fragile state.
The inpatient ward at the PA Hospital was a lot better than the Emergency Ward but it still was not an ideal treatment environment. The patients had little privacy. There were no facilities for the patients to exercise. There was no psychological counselling provided, only medication. My spouse's ability to communicate with outside was quite restricted since mobile devices were not allowed and the fixed phone available was not capable of making international calls (my spouse has family and friends in Europe).
While the staff at the PA Hospital were caring and friendly, the communication from most of the staff regarding my spouse's care was abysmal. The attending nurse did not know if my spouse was a voluntary or an involuntary patient. In explaining the treatment authority the doctors did not inform me that community care could also be an option. They made no inquiries regarding what home care resources were available. I was not provided with a copy of the treatment authority until I asked and was never provided with a treatment plan.
Eventually I got better informed myself and asked the nurses that I believed community care would be better for my spouse. I said that I would like to discuss this with the doctors otherwise get a second opinion. But of course it was the weekend and no doctors were available. Patient liaison officers were also not available on the weekends. It is as if you stop being sick after-hours. At some point, I had a very informative talk with one of the head nurses, probably one of the few positive experiences I had during the whole time. The following Monday my spouse was seen by the doctors and the doctors told me that they would advise my spouse to stay as inpatient. However, they would not object my spouse being discharged and cared in the community if that was our wish. My spouse was discharged and has been cared at home and monitored by community care team and has recovered quickly.
All in all, I am very disappointed with the Emergency Mental Health care system provided in our public hospitals.
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