"An ethos of care and communication during my inpatient stay"

About: Watford General Hospital / General surgery

(as the patient),

Last Tuesday I was admitted to Watford General with Jaundice like symptoms which were diagnosed as Gall stones obstructing the Bile duct and Acute Pancreatitis.

On Friday I had an operation (ercp sphincterotomy) which was successful and I was released from hospital on Saturday. I am now back home and though feeling a little run down am in no pain and looking forward to getting back to my regular routine next week.

Overall I found my experience of being an in-patient a positive one. Though the hospital was obviously suffering from funding issues with the wards sometimes understaffed and I had to wait for 6 hours after my operation before a bed could be found in the post-op ward, My overwhelming impression was of the care and compassion expressed by all the nursing staff I encountered in the 3 wards I stayed in. The doctors I encountered were also unfailingly pleasant, informative and as far as I could ascertain efficient.

For the first 3 days I was in the Acute Admissions Unit where the staff were having to deal with a trying situation where 3 of the 6 patients had severe dementia. One with vascular dementia was a sweet man smiling all the time but very confused who constantly needed things explained, another was terrified all the time with his lack of understanding of where he was and what was going on and the third expressed his confusion and frustration with rage.

As these patients were physically quite active they needed 24 hour a day constant care yet I never saw them dealt with in any other way than gentleness compassion and respect. I found it a moving and instructive experience (though I have to say that it was easier for me to appreciate what was going on around me when I wasn’t in significant pain myself).

Though the other 2 wards I was on were less demanding on the staff, I again experienced nothing but care and the many personal interactions with the staff who though busy always made time to listen and chat, certainly helped my recovery. A pleasant surprise was that this care went right the way through to the ancillary staff such as those cleaning, bringing the tea and meals etc who also made the time to interact with the patients. It felt like the whole organisation had been imbued with this ethos of care and communication.

I was also made aware of how ones attitude to an experience so much affects the outcome. In the post op ward a patient near me though alert, ignored everyone else other than to complain about the service. One time a trainee nurse was changing his dressing, she explained carefully to him that she was concerned about state of the wound so wanted to leave it uncovered for a few minutes so that the senior sister could have a look at it. He barely acknowledged this then a few minutes later he was on the phone to his wife complaining how the staff were useless and how the junior nurse changing his dressing couldn't even do that without help. If you go into experiences with a closed mind you find what you expect to see.

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Responses

Response from Watford General Hospital

Many thanks for taking the time to share your experience of our service. It is always nice to hear that we are succeeding in providing considerate care.

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