"A&E and Juniper Ward"
About: Darent Valley Hospital Darent Valley Hospital Dartford DA2 8DA
My wife was admitted via A&E, Medical Short Stay to Juniper ward with breathing difficulties.
I can't fault the A&E - she was assessed within 5 minutes and whisked away to A&E for immediate care and attention. No waiting around. In A&E triage immediately highlighted the issue, to little oxygen and to much CO2 in her blood. She was put on oxygen straight away, while blood and other tests and scans were completed. initial (and final) prognosis was 'Initial Diagnosis of COPD, combined with a major chest infection. Lots of questions repeatedly asked about history by different people, but necessarily so.
Confusing advice was sometimes given about possible treatment pathways, including the need for Oxygen support at home, which subsequently didn't arise. We felt that there appeared to be to many chiefs, with people wanting to find something to overrule the initial diagnosis. However, the cross referencing did work, although we experienced long delays in the wait for a CT scan (one aborted due to misunderstanding about what was required) which prolonged the stay in hospital.
We found the A&E and Short Stay staff, overall to be excellent, supportive and reassuring. They dealt with us (patient and NOK) with compassion and humour. There appears to be an issue with taking blood among some staff, with my wife being subjected to a total of about 40 different needle pricks before veins were found. With the number of bloods needed, this cause substantial bruising and discomfort on arms, backs of hands (and on one foot). Surely medical professionals should be better than this?
My spouse was moved to Juniper ward at 23.30 at night on the 2nd night, which disturbed her and caused her anxiety, so she begged the use of their phone to let me know. On Juniper ward, while the staff were both caring and professional, they seemed to be under enormous pressure and short handed. Evidenced by their inability to clear beds of departing patients, keeping new patients waiting. Whether it's time management or poor organisation I'm not sure - but more staff and supervision would help them a great deal.
The standards of cleanliness were not perfect, cleaners just appearing to flip dust of ledges, down onto patients? Given my wifes condition, this was less than ideal. The Public Gents toilet were always grubby and the gents in A&E had blood on the floor which stayed there for several visits. Given that hygiene is imperative in hospitals, surely this can't be considered acceptable.
in summary - we were glad we went there and not Queen Elizabeth, and feel overall that the hospital staff do their best in trying circumstances, but the areas commented on here, if addressed, would increase the overall patient care and experience and allow the hospital to be a truly great place to to be treated.