Health bosses have revealed how they have addressed the treatment of families of patients being given end-of-life care, after two sisters complained about ‘lost time’ with their mum.
On Monday, Ayrshire and Arran Health Board will hear about the issues raised by the family and how they have worked to learn from the situation.
The board will hear that the daughters of a woman who was a patient at both Crosshouse Hospital and Woodland View Hospital in Irvine, ‘felt strongly that their patient experience should be shared for reflection and learning’.
In a report to the board, Laura Harvey, QI Lead for Patient Experience, states: “In June 2020 Lynn and Jenny’s mum was unexpectedly admitted to Ward 4B, University Hospital Crosshouse and subsequently transferred to Ward 2, Woodland View in October 2020 for palliative / end of life care.
“The family’s experience whilst their mum was in ward 4B was positive. The staff took an interest in their mum and her wellbeing and her communication with the family was informative, compassionate and proactive.
“This made a significantly difficult time for the family so much easier to deal with.
“Sadly, their experience once their mum was transferred to Ward 2 in WVH was not as positive and the family wanted to share their experience in the hope that learning and improvement could take place to prevent any future patients and their families encountering the same issues.
“Lynn and Jenny’s experience made them feel that the culture within Ward 2 was less person centered and compassionate than other wards and hospitals their mother had recently been in.
“A number of issues led them to feel that, for whatever reason, the staff seemed less compassionate to their mum’s and their own needs.
“The lack of a person centered approach to visiting regulations at the end of their mum’s life was particularly distressing for the family and they feel they lost valuable time with their mum as a result.”
Ms Harvey concluded that the story ‘illustrates the impact that families’ relationships with staff can have on their experience’.
She said: “When patients or families report a negative experience, it is very important that this is then fully reviewed and any necessary action taken to improve the care experience for future patients.”
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The complaint lead to a number of actions by the service, including staff training on end of life care and a review of visiting guidance ‘that would support better access for families in the period approaching end of life, so patients and their loved ones can spend special time with each other before the patient’s condition deteriorates to the point they cannot converse or enjoy each other’s company’.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.