"Being a day care patient for a minor operation"

About: Medway Maritime Hospital / General surgery

(as the patient),

I am an OAP who suffers from arthritis and I was booked for a minor operation to remove an endometrial polyp.  Unfortunately the whole environment at the POCU and Sunderland Day Care Centre was most unsuitable for an elderly lady with painful joints.  I found I had to wait for 6.5 hours for a minor procedure which took 10-15 minutes and it was impossibly to sit comfortably for any length of time.  The cubicles were small and airless and I felt quite sick and faint by the time I went down for my minor operation.  Consequently, I reacted rather badly to the anaesthetic.  It was clear that the staff were struggling under difficult circumstances in a very poor environment.  Obviously, you are at the mercy of whatever happens in the operating theatres that day, but if the accommodation was comfortable, the wait would not have been so awful.

The Sunderland Day Care Centre, from which I was discharged, was rather dirty in the places I saw.  Unfortunately, after my operation, I could not help leaving a spill of blood in the lavatory.  I cleaned it up as best I could using water and toilet paper.  I did inform the nurse and suggest that it ought to be cleaned and disinfected, but was told that it didn't matter.  I do most sincerely hope that I have not passed on any infection to the next patient using the lavatory.  I would suggest that patents could be advised to bring a large packet of antiseptic wipes with them, so they can clean up themselves.

The accommodation is mixed sexes - this didn't bother me personally, but other patients might not be ok with this.

  My final experience was of a nurse informing me that my husband should not be allowed to drive because he is deaf!  I have no idea why this person considered themselves a judge of this matter.  My husband, who is younger than I am, is the best driver I have ever known, he is a member of the IAM and it was none of their business anyway.

Responses

Response from Medway Maritime Hospital

Thank you for your feedback. We are sorry that your experience was so poor on this occasion and we have shared your comments with the Head of Nursing for these areas.

We hope you have recovered from your procedure and extend to you our very best wishes,

kindest regards,

The Patient Experience Team

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Update posted by Deira (the patient)

Thank you. I was not seeking an apology. Obviously if my husband was not considered a responsible person to take me home and look after me because he is a Registered Deaf Person, then the hospital should not have discharged me at all. I only know that had he been there, he would have helped me clean up the lavatory. A nurse did look in and give me a new pad and a pair of disposable knickers. The nurse looked at the blood soak pads and I asked if they should go in the yellow bin. The nurse replied in the affirmative and left and closed the door. Rightly or wrongly, I was left with the strong impression that I was expected to clean it up - which I did as best I could, but, please bear in mind that I was barely half an hour from coming round from a general anaesthetic and, sadly, I am no longer a young woman. Nor was I in a position to know whether the amount of bleeding was excessive or not, or whether or not I had an infection.

However, my main motivation was to give some information to prospective day care patients as to what they may experience. Having had time to consider, I would suggest that someone coming in for a minor procedure should ask a friend to come with them to help and support. Ideally this individually should be young and fit and fully prepared to remain for the duration - which could be many hours. Bring whatever supplies they need to keep them going, of course.

The POCU does not have beds - just seats. They fit average sized people - if you are short or tall you will not be comfortable for very long, so it would be helpful to bring with you extra pillows/cushions and something that could be used as a foot stool. Maybe, pack your things in a small hard suitcase which could double up as a foot rest with a cushion on it.

A battery operated hand fan could be useful, as the cubicles are very stuffy.

Conversely, if the weather is cold, an extra cardigan, jacket or shawl would be a good idea.

Bring a clean face cloth, which can be soaked in cold water and get your friend to help sponge you down if you get over heated. Running your wrists under the cold tap for a few minutes can also help cool you down.

Pack a packet of disinfectant wipes, as they may be needed.

Remember that car parking is expensive, so you may need to used taxis or recruit a second person to take and collect both of you.

I should like to see such simple, practical ideas issued with appointment letters to POCU patients. Still better, if you must admit an elderly patient to the POCU, make sure that they are kept waiting no longer than one hour.

Response from Lyndsay Barrow, Patient Experience Manager, Medway NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for your suggestions. Other patients may find them useful and we will make sure we share them with the management team for POCU who may consider who to best utilise them.

Kindest regards,

The Patient Experience Team

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