"The importance of solid communication"

About: Forth Valley Royal Hospital / General medicine

(as a relative),

A member of my immediate family was admitted to the CAU at Forth Valley Hospital over the weekend to provide some much needed support and to take in the basic essentials.

I intended to visit him on my way home from work after putting child care in place to facilitate this. Knowing that there is limited signal at FVRH I called the nurses station to ensure he was still there and had not been discharged. During a conversation with a nurse within the CAU, I was informed that my family member would be discharged and "not to bother" coming to the unit as he would be gone soon - I knew he had means of travelling home so this was fine. I insisted the nurse let him know I called as I knew he would be worried as to my whereabouts.

I received a message over a social media website informing me he would be kept in and was being sent up to a ward! By this time my option of childcare had gone, as had my means of transport.

Now, this may not seem like a large or important criticism in the large scale of things; However, what if my relatives condition was life threatening and this would have been my last chance to see him..? What if it was to be of severe detrimental effect to his stability if I could not have made it..? What if he had deteriorated..?

It needs to be emphasised to staff who are dealing with relatives the importance of good solid communication with families and the people who matter to them (of course unless otherwise stated). If there is any doubt do not assume - after all, in circumstances like this we have no option but to put our absolute and unwavering trust in whatever is said to us.

P. S. That all important message I left with the nurse in question never got to the patient either!

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Response from Arlian Mallis, Person Centred Health and Care Co-ordinator, Department of Nursing, NHS Forth Valley

Thanks for letting us know about your experience, by sharing this information we are able to highlight ( as you say) the importance of good communication. I apologise on behalf of the team that you were given the wrong information, and therefore were unable to visit your family member.

Your posting has been shared with the team and illustrates the impact of poor communication. We continue to provide a number of training courses to improve communication, these will continue to be offered to members of the CAU team.

If you wish to discuss these issues further please dont hesitate to contact me -


many thanks


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