"Pretty good experience for an appendectomy"

About: West Middlesex University Hospital

I'm almost a year late posting this review, it always seems easier to remember to complain rather than praise, but I had my appendix out at WMH last year. For the most part, my experience was great, I can't fault the staff, particularly the nurses, for their compassion, knowledge and sense of humour. The ward was clean and well-run by the staff. The only complaint I had was that my surgery kept getting pushed back so I spent two whole days on nil by mouth with updates from staff every couple of hours assuring me that my surgery was scheduled for that day. By the time it was decided on the first day that my surgery was to be further delayed, the kitchens had been closed so the only thing that could be found was a stale ham sandwich. It is extremely frustrating to have your surgery pushed back a day as an inpatient, when you've spent the whole day hungry it's even worse and demoralising. I understand that there are limits to what can reasonably be provided or expected after hours, but some provision to offer a fresher, more substantial meal to patients in that position would do wonders for helping them to keep their chin up. I understand that sometimes there is a need to postpone more routine surgeries as emergencies arise over the course of the day. I am grateful that this was explained to me and that the people caring for me, especially the nurses, were proactive in ensuring that my pain was managed suffieciently during these delays. Overall my experience was a positive one (or as positive as abdominal surgery can be!) My suggestions for general improvements would be: - Awareness of patients' psychological as well as physical needs. With one in four people living with mental health challenges and my own long history of depression and anxiety, it would be beneficial for all ward staff to have up-to-date awareness and training regarding mental health.Obviously on a surgical ward a patient's physical health is the priority and MH staff are extremely busy, but perhaps making a counselor or similar available on an informal basis who can provide support for patients with MH challenges on top of their current surgical needs would be an option, particularly as mental and physical health have such strong influence on each other. - provision for something a little more satisfying than dry, leftover sandwiches for patients told at 9 or 10 at night that their sugery is postponed until the next day. Even just the option of a hot drink or biscuit or similar would be soothing and a potential morale boost.

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