The Intensive Care Bed #Hospital


hospitalbed-630x390

 

Here in the UK last night the BBC aired a programmed called “Hospital”. It was a very moving programme showing how stretched the NHS is. It certainly opened my eyes to the daily nightmares that consultants, managers and nursing staff find themselves in on a daily basis. The shortage of Intensive Care beds the result in operations having to be cancelled and patients being turned away for life saving operations. The look of frustration and helplessness etched on the faces of many.

How I felt for the patient that had his operation cancelled for the second time, being sent home after waiting in the ward anxiously waiting to hear that an Intensive Care bed was available – it didn’t happen the bed was needed for another patient.

It brought be back to when my mum was “that patient”. Extremely poorly with bowel cancel, awaiting a life saving operation. She was prepared for the op by having nil by mouth for 24 hours the day before the scheduled operation. By 4.00 that afternoon she was still waiting, we her family were waiting with her trying to keep her spirits up. Finally, I went along to the nurse’s station to find out what was happening to be told that her operation was cancelled due to there being no Intensive Care bed that she needed after her operation. Her operation was delayed to the following week.

The following week arrives, my mum another week on, getting weaker by the day but we were all optimistic she was having her op that day. It got to lunchtime and we got the dreaded news her operation was cancelled again for the 2nd time. The Intensive Care bed was needed for a man who was involved in a road traffic accident. I remember feeling anger at this person who I didn’t know – because of him my mum was not able to have her operation again – and then the instant guilt of feeling like that. This faceless unknown person fighting for their life as my mum was doing got the bed first – WHY!! I often wonder how their family felt – they probably just took it for granted that the Intensive Bed was there – as I thought before this nightmare began. Her operation was delayed for yet another week.

The 3rd week arrived – just a few days before Christmas. We were told previously that mum would be first on the operating list. I sat with her – her fight all gone. All 4 and half stone of my beautiful mum wasting away in the bed before my eyes. They came around to get her prepped for the operation. Excitement building like this was something that we didn’t believe was ever going to happen. Somthing that before this we had just taken from granted. Patients starting going down to the theatre – the consultant came up and asked if he could have a word with the family. His dreaded words “I’m sorry but we are going to have to cancel mum’s operation again” Our grief at that moment was unbearable. My heat was torn in two – how on earth could she survive another week. Amongst all of the shouting and swearing the panic and the disbelieve I still remember the look of despair on the consultants face. He just didn’t know what to say. He apologised and said that he would have felt exactly the same if it had been his family. It was the same story – they didn’t have an Intensive Care bed for mum after the operation.

I would never in my wildest thoughts that it would have been a bed that would have prevented my mum from having a life saving operation. It just didn’t make sense. I actually believed at this stage that this was just a lie – that they didn’t feel that mum at the age of 70 years was worthy of this operation. I felt they were just waiting on her dying.

The consultant went and spoke to mum. She had lost the will and just nodded – perhaps like me she thought that she was never going to have this op.

I remember mum saying she was hungry – I sent my Dad to get her a sandwich from the canteen. This has been her 3rd week of starving for 24 hours before being told she wasn’t having the op. She then asked the nurse for the commode. The nurse went off to get one. The nurse took longer than mum could wait and she attempted to get out of bed to get to the toilet – as ill as she was she still had her pride. As she stood upright the tumour burst – all over the floor. Within 10 minutes she was being rushed to the operating theatre where she had the operation.

She finally had the Intensive Care bed that she was promised 3 weeks ago, albeit only for 2 nights instead of the 5-7 she was told she would be in there for. She was  then transferred to the high dependency unit. I often wonder if someone had to be moved out of intensive Care to make way for mum, or if someone who was waiting for it had been cancelled like my mum had.

Watching the programme last night brought it all back. It made me see the nightmares that the staff have on a daily basis trying to access Intensive Care beds for patients. As the programme showed last night we in the UK have the most wonderful consultants with the most amazing powers to carry out life changing operations, the dedicated staff who work around the clock to look after the patients before and after their operations and the most marvellous well equipped hospitals that we should be so proud of. But how shocking it is to think that it sometimes comes down to the “luck of the draw” when it comes to needing that much-needed Intensive Care bed.

 

© 2011-2017 Reception Training all rights reserved
Advertisements

Customer Service at its Best #NaturaPalaceHotel #Lanzarote


 

images

What do you look for in a holiday? Mine is sunshine, a lovely venue, easy access to local areas, good food, swimming pool, and most of all good customer service.

Well we certainly found that last week when we went back to Lanzarote again for the second year running. Why? Because we could not fault the hotel we stayed at Hipotels Natura Palace in Playa Blanca.

I could not fault the hotel on any level last year, and the same again this year.

The customer service was second to none the moment we walk through the door to the day we left.

On arrival the Reception staff were friendly, helpful and professional. A porter took our cases to our room which was really well laid out  equipped with a fridge, large flat screened TV, table and chairs and the bathroom came with all the usual soaps, shampoos, tissues, hairdryer and other useful accessories.

We had a sunny balcony that overlooked the beautiful swimming pools (2 large pools and one children’s pool) and the best bit there were plenty of sunbeds to go around.

IMG_0608

The food was exceptional and catered for everyone’s taste, you certainly wont go hungry whilst staying at the Natura Palace. The Maitre d” is attentive and very charming making you feel that you are the most important person when he is dealing with you, he remembered that we have been before which was very impressive seeing the amount of people who must pass through the restaurant every day, and the staff again charming and very helpful. There was a wonderful chief who made smoothies to order – they were just amazing.

2056D472-72D5-49B7-9968-FEC3B9A70BF9.jpg

The dining room staff work extremely hard, often working the breakfast shift, the evening shift and then working in the bar until late. They worked hours but every single one always wore a smile and were always very attentive.

The bar staff couldn’t do enough to help and got to know you very quickly, they would often have a joke or two despite the language barrier they always interracted with everyone.

The rooms were cleaned every day and the maids always went out of their way to make you feel special.

2AB569D9-9897-437C-A568-5F9F97C91FC6.jpg

The hotel was immaculate the public areas inside and outside were kept spotless at all times.

IMG_0048.jpg                                          IMG_0040

The grand staircase in the Main Reception area and the lower grouund lobby area.  

I did the same this year as I did last year. I peopled watched – one the things I have loved doing since I was little (or just plan nosy as my husband would tell me)

I can honestly say that I never seen a grumpy member of staff the whole time we were there, the amount of hours that the staff worked were long and not very sociable, working in the heat giving a  110%. Their customer service was excellent at all times.

I can honestly say I have never witnessed so many staff giving such a great service.

I am intrigued to know how their go about their customer care training. How they instigate the training and uphold it to the level that is being given.

Do Hiptels hold in-house training? Does each department hold their own training or are the staff training as one? Are staff sent off site for customer care training.

To give training is one thing, the hardest thing is ensuring that the training is maintained at all times.

Whatever way they are doing it they certainly have it right. Well done to the Management and Staff at Natura Palace you should be very proud of yourself.

imagesCAX7OJIP

 

© 2011-2017 Reception Training all rights reserved

A Patients Experience – Would you complain?


images

A patients experience is such an important event be it an appointment at the Doctors Surgery, an outpatient’s appointment or a stay in hospital. Every patient should be treated with respect.

So why is it I hear of such horror stories – few I am pleased to say, but the few are few too many.

Every patient should be treated with respect. Lets face it everyone single one of us are “patients” at some time in our lives.

“Treat people as you would expect to be treated”

Sadly I heard of an experience that I certainly would not like to face let alone any member of my family. This happened to my friends mum recently in our local hospital.

My friend’s mum has recently had major surgery; she is in her 70’s and has a stoma bag as a result of her operation.

As you can imagine she is struggling in many ways to come to terms with this, getting over a major op, being away from her home and the environment that she has known for so many years and of course the fear of what lies ahead, the results from the op she is yet to be given. Her world at this moment in time has just been turned upside down.

This woman has only ever been in hospital to have her children, so operations, and hospital procedures, follow-up appointments, hospital staff and patient care is all very new to her.

My friend took her mum to outpatient’s appointments where a nurse attends to the stoma bag. They have always been treated with respect, and the care has always been good, as it should be – until the other day where they experience was far from “good”.

The nurse that dealt with my friends mum was far from gentle, hurting her as such took off the stoma bag, ignoring the patient as she winced in pain. My friend has to say something to the nurse.

My friend noticed that the nurse didn’t have any gloves on, she asked why she wasn’t wearing any and the nurse replied that she “didn’t like wearing them”

On taking off the stoma bag the nurse screwed up her face and made a comment about the smell – the patient was made to feel so embarrassed. My friend felt awful for her mum sharing her embarrassment.

The nurse stood there arching her back complaining that it was sore, and how she had been on her feet “all morning” – it was only 11.00 am.

The nurse then asked the patient what treatment she was having for her “cancer” – she looked at her daughter with panic on her face – the look asking, “have you not told me something”? The patient has not yet had the follow-up appointment with the consultant and as yet not had any results. She and her daughter are now convinced that the nurse seen something on her records.

My friend was far from happy about the treatment her mum received, but the fear of a complaint coming back at her mum while she is still receiving treatment has made her reluctant to speak to someone regarding this awful treatment.

She fears that if she complains about the attitude of this nurse that her mum might suffer because of it. She asked me what I felt she should do – I told her she had to do what she felt was right, I didn’t feel that I could put my hand on my heart and say by complaining that this wouldn’t come back on her mum – and how very sad is that.

It is important that people should have the freedom to share their concerns, and when they do that they are dealt with appropriately and in confidence and made to feel that they or their family will not be treated in any way different by doing so.

Each organisation should therefore have a good system put into place for such incidents. To have appropriate systems in place to deal with staff that have had a complaint made against them. To then follow the complaint through and if needed further training identified for member of staff concerned.

No one should ever be made to feel uneasy by speaking up – they should have the right to be heard.

 

© 2011-2017 Reception Training all rights reserved

Straight from the heart


 

imagesCATMPJJAToday is Fathers Day and what I would give to be able to telephone my dad and wish him a lovely day – something I did every year and took for granted. Sadly my dad died last year and I never got to be with him in time – to have that one last conversation with him. To tell him how much so many people loved him, to tell him what strength he was to me and to tell him simply that I loved him – but I know he knew that anyway.

This blog is a bit different from normal. It is straight from the heart and its one of those stories that left me and my family but more so my lovely dad badly let down by the system that I believe is one of the best in the world – but can show perhaps without the right communication how things can go so badly wrong.

I had a lovely Saturday afternoon, we had been celebrating a friends baby shower and there was lots of laughter and fun, the afternoon had ended and the clearing up underway. My daughter telephoned me to say that she had spoken to my dad (her beloved granddad) and he had commented that he felt unwell – he had been backwards and forwards to the doctors for some weeks with a chest infection and put on various different medications.

My dad asked my daughter to phone a doctor for him – this had alarm bells ringing, my dad would NEVER make a full and in all his life he had never ever phoned a doctor outside of surgery hours, and had never had a home visit. He was of the “old school” he never complained.

My daughter asked if I would phone and speak to him, she knew that I had a good understanding of how the out of hours worked and felt that I would be the best person to speak to someone.

Unfortunately I was not in the UK on this occasion and was phoning from another country. I telephoned my dad and it was pretty obvious he was very poorly he also was very confused – he asked if I could phone the doctor and his wishes were that no one called him as he felt he was not able to have a conversation with someone at this stage. He was confused and he was in pain. He sounded really poorly.

I have a brother and unfortunately we were unable to contact him – but we left a message.

At 17.30 I telephoned the out of hours service. I explained to the operator it was my dad’s wishes that I spoke to them, as my dad was too poorly to speak to anyone. I explained that he was confused in a lot of pain and had not passed urine since the day before. I gave a list of my dad’s medication to the operator. I offered my telephone number to the operator and he said as it was an international telephone number he was unable to take it – this concerned me as I was the point of contact – I offered it again and he again said that he was not able to take the number.

I gave every single bit of information that the operator would have needed to assess the call appropriately. I know if my dad had made that call he would have not given all the facts.

After speaking to the operator and all the details taken into consideration it was confirmed that my dad would need an ambulance. As the operator couldn’t take my telephone number he actually put me through directly in touch with the ambulance service. I explained the circumstances and my concerns that my dad was confused, along and in a lot of pain. They confirmed that an ambulance would be called.

The next hour was a nightmare – worried that I had no news – still no contact from my brother so I telephoned my dad house to find that he was still there and no ambulance had been. The only reassuring thing was my brother had just arrived so at least he had someone there with him.

Concerned that no ambulance had arrived I contacted the out of hours again. I was told that the ambulance had been cancelled – yes cancelled!

Concerned that Dad had been confused perhaps someone had phoned him and he might have told them not to bother – that is something dad might have done if he thought that he was causing a fuss – but speaking to my brother no one at Dad’s had phoned or no one had cancelled the ambulance.

My brother told me that he would take my dad straight away to A&E himself in the car.

Had my dad gone in an ambulance he would have gone straight through – but my brother had to find a car parking space, walk my poorly dad into A&E and wait until the drunks and people with colds were booked in before them – it took over half an hour waiting to be checked in – and as you can imagine a while before he was seen – my dad was finally admitted the doctors told my brother that they would keep him in for a few days.

Sadly my dad died the next evening.

When we got back to my dads house in the early house of the morning the answer machine was flashing – the message was received after 19.00 saying it was the ambulance service calling – and apologised for the delay in the ambulance and if anything has changed please call us back on 999 – thank you. I was confused at this stage to say the least.

I contacted and the ambulance on the Monday to find out what had happened – how my dad was sadly let down by the system. The gentleman dealing with the call was extremely helpful and he assured me he would look into it for me.

I then telephoned the out of hours and asked them why the ambulance had been called – to which I was told because of patient confidentiality I would have to get written permission from the patient before they could release any information. For goodness sake the patient was dead! How on earth was I suppose to do that? I did find that very upsetting. This took me a while to get sorted – there was every chance that they were not going to discuss this with me – but I got there after several stern words.

As you can imagine there was a lot of correspondence backwards and forwards – taking forever to get answers.

The out of hours was blaming the ambulance service for not prioritising the call appropriately and the ambulance was blaming the out of hours – it took a long time to finally find out what had happened. But we finally got to find out what had actually happened.

The out of hours said in their letter that the ambulance service categorisation process resulted in an inappropriate C2 response that on review they acknowledge should have been a C1 priority for a 20 minutes response. The ambulance service also stated this in their letter – but also followed it up with it was one of their busiest nights and went on back that up with figures on calls throughout that day.

As for the cancellation of the ambulance it was confirmed that the reason the call was cancelled was due to the fact that the operator had inaccurately quoted the wrong call number he quoted 3392 instead of 3329. As this point the demographic details should have been confirmed by both parties to ensure the correct call log was being looked at. In this case it did not happen. The call number given to the ambulance service actually related to another call transferred by the out of hours service. The call log that the ambulance service operator was looking at was told that this patient had in fact contacted the out of hours requesting the ambulance to be cancelled. So my dad’s ambulance was cancelled and the gentleman that phoned to cancel the ambulance more than likely still got a visit from the ambulance service.

So, errors all round – would it have saved my dad’s life if the ambulance had arrived – and within the 20 minutes target? We will never know but what was more upsetting is the fact that if my brother had not been able to get to him when he did, and I had not phoned back thinking he was being taken to hospital he would have been waiting for the ambulance and perhaps have collapsed at home when he was on his own, because my dad would not have complained or wanted to have been a nuisance in any way.

When talking to the out of hours service I did share my concerns that they had nor wanted to take my telephone number – the only point of contact they had. The woman who I was dealing with at the out of hours did say that from this incident they would be looking at reviewing their system and every call would have the facility to take a contact telephone number. For me this should have been such an easy process and should have been put in place right from the start.

For me if ever I took a call from a patient, or someone calling on behalf of a patient my first priority would always be to get a contact telephone number. To me this is basic communication.

I sadly still see on the news and read in the papers that this out of hours service that I dealt with are always in the news for all the wrong reasons. Why are they still getting it wrong?

So for my today Fathers Day it’s always a sad reminder that this beautiful man – my dad is no longer here.