"RVI - Assessment Unit"

About: The Royal Victoria Infirmary

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Although I am very grateful for the help my Father has recieved I find my self in the unusual position of writing these comments in the vain hope that someone listens. I understand health systems and the operational challenges faced by NHS staff, and for this I give NHS services a considerable amount of leeway in terms of any potential issues. However - This ward is busy, unbelievably busy. The staff are run off their feet and work extremely hard, of that there is no doubt. However there are not enough staff to maintain the basic levels of care that older more vulnerable people require, some times it is the subtle things that make the difference. For the 2.5 days my Father was in I had to ask what was happening and what the plans were for him. This is difficult for staff when at visiting time most families/carers want to ask the same question. The staff could not cope with all of these requests so frequently your query would go unanswered until you asked again which is an uncomfortable position to be in as no one wants to appear "pushy". This might be eased if the patient knew what was happening but often this was not the case or was inaccurate.It really just seemed like there was no co ordination of his care. I could moan about some other points such as meals being missed, blood splattered curtain, no prompting to get changed for bed therefore sleeping in his clothes but I understand that my father has some part to play in some of this so will not aportion blame to the ward. What is unforgivable is the lack of simple and forthcoming communication to patients and carers about what is happening. If you can address this i am sure alot of the anxieties and ad hoc requests will be reduced allowing staff to get on and do the basic caring. I have never been so pleased to get out of a ward, I was concerned that should my Father stay any longer he may come to further harm, I am sure this was not the intention but it was the feeling I was left with. Please help your staff do the job they want to do, give them the resources and time to spend with patients to deliver quality, not just quantity.

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Responses

Response from The Royal Victoria Infirmary

Thank you for the comments regarding your father’s care on the Assessment Suite at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, We are very disappointed to hear that you had concerns about the care provided, and are grateful to you for bringing these to our attention. We hope it will be helpful if we explain a little more about the department to inform this response. The Assessment Suite has 50 beds and has around 64 emergency admissions each day, which means that the nursing and medical teams are understandably very busy throughout the day due to the activity on the unit and the dependency of the patients requiring assessment and treatment. We would like to assure you that there is daily monitoring of the staffing levels on the unit and any unexpected shortages are raised with the Matron who will identify additional staff as and when necessary. There is always a senior nurse and consultant present on the unit, and these staff should be available to provide information as to the management plan of care. In light of your feedback, all staff have been reminded of the importance of communication and provision of timely information and of the need to involve the patient, relative or carer in any decisions made regarding the patient’s management. As you say, good communication is of vital importance in order to provide information, reduce patient and relatives anxiety and provide them with an opportunity to raise any concerns, and we are sorry that we failed to meet the required standards on this occasion. In respect of ‘missed meals’ - if patients miss a meal for any reason, then food and beverages are readily accessible to ward staff and can be provided to patients outwith usual ward mealtimes. This should have been clearly explained to your father and we can only apologise that this did not happen. Patients should be encouraged to get into night clothes before settling down for the night. However we do take into account an individual patient’s preference and cannot assert on them the need to change into nightwear if they do not wish to. However, your point is well made and staff have been reminded about the need to appropriately prompt patients in this respect. We are disappointed to note that the curtains appeared stained and would wish to assure you that there is a regular programme for changing the curtains. In addition if patients or visitors identify any cleanliness issues, we would encourage them to report this to staff so that the issue can be resolved as soon as possible, Thank you once again for bringing your concerns to our attention. They have been shared with the management team for the Assessment Suite. If you have any further concerns or issues to raise, please do not hesitate to contact Matron McNab, Assessment Suite or Mr P Anderson, Patient Relations Manager or a member of his team on 0191 233 6161.

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