"Communication in the acute assessment unit"

About: Forth Valley Royal Hospital / Acute assessment unit

(as a relative),

My partner was referred to the AAU this week. He had been having pains in his chest and back and having had a chest infection the previous year was pretty sure it was the same symptoms.

Arriving at FV he was taken to the AAU mens ward. I was in the waiting area. It was after 10pm and there were not many people around. I waited around an hour before being asked if I would like to go into the ward to see him. There were another four patients of various ages and my partner had been seen by a nurse (who had him under another name) and she had taken blood and done an ECG. When told that the doctor would be round in around one to one and a half hours we thought 'well it's late but there are others who are probably more in need and we know we're not the only people on the planet'.

After about three hours my throat was parched. I asked for water and if there was a rough idea when the doctor would be in the ward. The nurse said she was 'going round to the board' and would let us know an approximate time. I never heard another thing from her! After almost a five hour wait at around 4am the doctor finally appeared and after assessing the situation said my partner had to have another ECG at 7 in the morning and did the nurse not inform you of that'? ..... As I say this was a Thursday night. I'm sure most people would have been working on the Friday morning! I know these places are very busy but communication would have been very much appreciated.

The nurses had plenty chat just outside the ward - a little bit of interaction with the patient/family would have made us realise that he may/ may not be getting kept in the hospital and that I could have decided long before 4.30 am that I could go home and leave him in safe hands and find out what would be happening in the morning after all the tests had been done.

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

Many thanks for taking the time to tell us about you and your partners experience.

Firstly I hope your partner is well. You are correct to point out the importance of communication, which seems to have been of poor quality from the begining or your journey. You have pointed out a number of issues I would like to share with the team in AAU.

I am going to share your posting with them and ask them to return a posting on patient opinion with their thoughts. In the meantime if you wish to speak to any one directly we would be more than happy to discuss any issues.

Please feel free to contact me by email Arlian Mallis.


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