"Waterside Unit"

About: Amersham Hospital

The Waterside Unit at Amersham hospital offers ‘a rehabilitation service including physiotherapy and occupational therapy as well as palliative / end of life care’. Both essential services, but being placed together that combination just does not work. A relative spent many weeks there following a leg amputation. It was obvious that the end of life patients were taking up much more time and resources than the rehabilitation cases. The excuse for not getting our relative out of bed / washed until nearly midday on more than one occasion was that “we have a lot of poorly patients to see to”. Rehabilitation should mean intensive physiotherapy, not on Waterside! Time and time again our relative would report that he had not seen a physio for days. He was left with some written instructions for some exercises which he had not realised he was supposed to do on his own. The physiotherapy cover for the unit is minimal; the staff do their best but can only provide the bare essentials. The occupation therapists again do their best, but appear to have a large workload. The result was that he was discharged home after 9 weeks, lacking in confidence to carry out essential procedures such as transferring safely from wheelchair to toilet. There are some amenities for the rehabilitation patients. Televisions are provided both in the common room and in individual patient’s rooms which can provide some welcome interest during boring times. However due to a defective aerial none of the sets actually work when it rains! Depending on which staff are on duty, visiting times can be rigidly adhered to. The door was often not unlocked until the exact start time and they actually came round ringing a hand bell at the end, something I had not seen since the 1960’s. Communication was lacking. For instance we only found out that a social worker was assigned to our relative until nearly the end of his stay and we were not offered a ‘family meeting’ to discuss the ongoing care required, which I understand is normal practice in most rehabilitation units. All in all a disappointing experience which had more to do with the doubtful set-up of the unit rather than inadequacies of staff members, most of whom were doing their best in difficult circumstances.

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Response from Amersham Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to comment. We are really sorry to read about your experience and thank you for your feedback. If you haven't done so already, please can you contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) so that we can discuss the matter in more detail and take any action required. PALS are contactable on 01296 316042 or pals@buckshealthcare.nhs.uk Kind regards

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