"Some of the staff were exceptionally ..."
About: West Middlesex University Hospital West Middlesex University Hospital Isleworth TW7 6AF
What I liked
Some of the staff were exceptionally helpful and tried to be re-assuring.
What could be improved
Communication could be vastly improved. I was in A&E for nearly 11 hours before getting all the usual investigations. It was 5 hours before saw the promised "medical team" which turned out to be a young doctor who should have gone off duty but was trying to help me out by seeing me and getting the ball rolling. Having been brought in by ambulance from my GP's at around 4:30pm with asthma, the ambulance team took blood samples while they waited to "hand me over". I was left in a side room with only the occasional appearance of a completely dis-interested nurse. She eventually offered me a nebuliser but gave me no idea of when I might see someone. Another nurse gave me oral steroids at around 9pm and continued the nebuliser. The dis-interested nurse would just shrug and say "it's very busy". Around 9 I asked a nurse if he could find me something to eat & drink - but he never did. Around 11 I asked another nurse who was just passing and she found a sandwich for me. (bless her) Around midnight I was given an ECG and the nurse (another disinterested one) left me with all the pads attached to me. By 1 a.m. I went out and asked a nurse to take the blood tap THING out of my arm as I wanted to either go home or be given a bed, I was so exhausted. She re-assured me that I only had a chest x-ray to do and it wouldn't be long. She gave me more nebuliser. I finally had the x-ray at 2:20am and was on a ward at 3am. in a bed with no pillow- but I couldn't have cared less by then... but I wasn't able to sleep and they start getting you up at 5:45. Apart from 2 of my normal 5 daily medications, that entire day on the ward I received only one more dose of oral steroids and the use of the nebuliser which was giving me headaches by then. The pharmacy were supposed to send up inhalers and my other meds but I never received them until I left at 6pm. Apparently, the pharmacy had sent them to the ward (don't know when) but I wasn't given them.
Most individuals were pleasant and nice but no-one talked to me to let me know what was going on until I saw the doctor on his rounds on the ward. I had a visit from the asthma nurse who was informative but I had no medications. I forgot - in the afternoon of the second day, one of the nurses on the ward brought me an inhaler which he said came from another ward, not the pharmacy. I wasn't sure if I should use it - if it was the one prescribed. The nebulisers were giving me massive headaches and no-one could give me a paracetamol without a doctor's say-so.
I stopped using the nebulisers in the morning as I couldn't deal with the headaches. I got two paracetamols late that afternoon.
I know I wasn't a critical patient but my peak flow was between 150-200 and if I'd collapsed in A&E, I don't think anyone would have noticed for a while. It's stressful to be ill and stressful to be in A&E - I could have used a lot more reassurance and information. Just someone to come in and say "This is what's going to happen....." and give me a rough idea of WHEN. Someone to say, "when was the last time you ate?" (In my case it had been 11 am that day) and to offer to do something about it. (I was offered a cup of tea around 2am) Perhaps I'm not assertive enough but I shouldn't have to be.