"I was admitted to ward D8 for emergency..."
About: Queen's Medical Centre Queen's Medical Centre Nottingham NG7 2UH
Posted by Michelle E Wilkinson
What I liked
I was admitted to ward D8 for emergency spinal surgery where I was informed by my Consultant and members of his team, what my MRI which had been undertaken at Grantham Hospital, had shown. Prior to my arrival at QMC, I knew nothing other than I needed spinal surgery, and was therefore pretty scared. The team at QMC explained to me what my condition was and what surgery was entailed. They explained the procedure and stressed how they could not make any promises as to what recovery I would make. Despite my being frightened, this was reassuring as I knew from this point that I could trust them and, I had little to lose but plenty to gain. The anaesthetist explained about what to expect once in the anaesthetic room and about my access to pain relief post - op.
The nurses and auxiliaries on the whole were very welcoming, friendly and caring and put me at ease.
What could be improved
Post - op I was transferred back to my local hospital for further rehab, but this had not really been thought through and I was pretty much ignored once there. Also, no one really explained to me how my situation was now I had undergone the surgery. My wound had also been leaking and I was concerned about it, but this was not really taken on board and I was transferred anyway, only to be readmitted a couple of weeks later having had my local hospital negate to provide adequate wound care and so I had got a deep wound infection. This led to another lengthy stay in QMC.
I therefore feel that more care could had been given at the point of my transfer to Grantham being considered and that I would have benefitted from knowing what my discharge plan actually was, and what to look out for in terms of my wound healing.
Likewise, I had quite an emotionally charged discharge eventually from D8, where, despite being assessed by the OT and a request for a care package being put to my local Social Services, this request was denied and I was then left pretty much high and dry. I was then basically told to be resourceful and told that I would manage. If that was the case, why the request for some support? Also, as I was from out of area, nobody seemed to be able to come up with any ideas of where I could approach nor was I helped to formulate new coping strategies.
I realise that I experience mental health problems and experience anxiety and depression and this added to the emotional aspect of the situation, but no one other than one of the Sisters actually seemed to grasp how scared I was, especially as I have no family and no friends in close proximity. Instead of feeling reassured and heard, I was left feeling like I had overstayed my welcome and that I was in some way a fraud expressing concerns only to have them put down and negated.
I feel more could be done in terms of addressing a patient's needs in a holistic fashion. I am a person not just a spine!
Given the fraught nature of my discharge and how upset and angry I had become, I have since sent an apology to my Consultant, but I am still left feeling almost ashamed of having asked for help and feeling that whilst my surgery, as far as was possible, was successful, that this was overshadowed by my discharge and leaves me feeling unsettled about how things might be should the need arise for me to go back there.
I feel I should have been more involved in the transfer to my local hospital as not knowing what I was meant to be provided with in terms of care meant a battle ensued to have my wound adequately cared for.
A properly planned discharge would have made things easier, with more involvement of myself in expressing my situation. Also, more information on my situation medically - what to expect, what to look out for, etc.
I can not fault the surgery and what went before and immediately after. I felt totally safe in the knowledge that I was in safe hands. However, I feel that maybe some staff may benefit from realising that what may seem trivial to them is not to the patient. In my case, I know I have issues, but I also have needs and the right to feel the way I feel.