"Falls assessment, help, advice and relearning."

About: St Mary's Hospital (Portsmouth)

(as a relative),

My dad had started having falls, stumbles, trips which we couldn't say were age related as he is on a significant amount of medication, so his Dr referred him to Amulree Assessment Hospital on St Mary's Campus in Portsmouth.

Now we live in Portsmouth and whilst finding the hospital was easy, locating 'Amulree' took some time. The parking area could afford to have better signage, after all, if we struggled, then outsiders will certainly have concerns.

Parking is generally Ok (but can get packed), and it's not overly expensive (compared to QA Hospital) to Pay&Display, and for disabled badge holders St Mary's it's free and there are a number of disabled bays outside the various buildings. There is a dedicated drop off and pick up point that is suitable for private cars, taxi's and medical transport, and its all designed to be wheelchair friendly.

Access to the ground complex prior to Amulree is via the hospital reception in the biggest main building, through auto doors, then down a short corridor to lifts and stairs. Wheelchairs are available via reception at a refundable charge of a pound I believe.

The lift/stairs take you to 1st floor which contains Amulree accessible via auto doors, then turn right, along a short corridor to Amulree reception.

We were greated by a presentable lady who took our letter, address us politely and offered to take my fathers coat which she placed on a hanger and placed in a cloakroom in a Staff Only area on a dedicated peg, placed a preprinted name badge onto my fathers jumper and another member of staff then escorted us to a dining room.

I don't intend to repeat how wonderful the service was in the dining room area as another reviewer has done it good justice with their words, and I agree with them fully. The drinks on our day were free, and this seems to be normal practice.

At our appointed time we were addressed by a woman who introduced herself, her role, and what would be happening, my dad then received an exceptionally good medical assessment based on his muscle tone, weight, strength, medication, height, visual and hearing, indeed, its one of the best I'd seen. He consented to blood samples, and we were then escorted back to the dining room and offered drinks and we were done. We went to Amulree reception, picked up dads coat, which the lady helped him on with, removed his name badge and then we left.

My fathers assessment concluded a week later with the results, and a program of simple adjustments drawn up which he has been shown how to do, practiced with the Amulree dedicated physiotherapist who see my father on a weekly bases to ensure he receives support and further help each week, and has been given basic equipment to take away to help in his treatment program.

The treatment program is person specific, so I can only describe my fathers which is within his capabilities, not too taxing, and he says he feels it working as it should.

The staff have allowed myself to be involved in helping them work with my dad and seem to welcome my input.

We still have three sessions before his first review, but I have recommended the service they provide to another friend who suffers unexplained falls, and she has enquired to her Dr if she can be assessed by Amulree, and whilst I appreciate the service is not for everyone, it is suitable for quite a vast majority of individuals, and I feel it is a valuable service, especially to the elderly, those with limited mobility/strength, those who are reluctant to and/or find leaving their home difficult, it is a very friendly and understanding department for whom no one should fear visiting.

I only hope the service is still available should I myself one day need it...

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Response from Marion Brown, Head of Complaints and Patient Advice & Liaison Service (PALS), Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Thank you very much for taking the time to give us such positive comments which we will be happy to share with the staff involved who will delighted to receive this. We will also pass your comments on to our Facilities Team regarding the signage and try to improve this..

We really do appreciate comments from patients and visitors as it helps us see where changes are needed. If in future you have any feedback you would like to give us directly, good or bad, then you can also contact the PALS (Patient Advice & Liaison Service) on PHT.PALS@porthosp.nhs.uk or tel 0800 917 6039.

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