Update on my relationship with Hull Royal……….
Back in January this year and I only know that from looking at the date on my blog….I had an horrendous experience at Hull Royal General Hospital. There’s a link to the blog below for anyone that’s interested…….
I had an enormous response to the blog I wrote at the time and complained through PALs to the Trust itself. Basically the system seemed to be broken and my observation at the time described an unsmiley culture and a feeling that patients were an inconvenience.
My complaint to PALs led to a meeting, which at the time, seemed very positive but as time went on I soon realised they were simply going through the motions of appeasing me and promised solutions never materialised. I refused to return……
However, I then met people in the region who did care, including Janet Woodhouse, who has appeared in many blogs. Janet recently introduced me to the new Dementia Lead for the Trust, Suzy Bunton and mentioned my experience.To cut a long story short I was offered another appointment at Hull Royal to try and address all my previous negative feelings.
One concern I’d raised was the use of the phone being the only way to contact them re appointments – I find the phone very difficult now. To Suzy’s credit, she organised email contact with the appointments department – BIG TICK and made a conversation so much easier.
Anyway, the appointment was on Monday. I must admit that I had a feeling of trepidation at the thought of returning but Suzy had agreed to meet me and Gemma in reception and come with us to the department – mainly so we could show her the difficulties from the start.
The start of the journey was the same with the dreadful booking in machine..
You sign in and then it tells you where to go and where to sit – I tried to get my ipad ready to take a photo of that screen but the instructions disappeared within seconds – luckily that was the time Suzy appeared so we could explain how once that screen went blank I didn’t have a clue where to go………not a good start but she had already noted that as an issue for everyone.
As Suzy accompanied us to the department we showed her how sad, depressing and confusing the route was – the stairs leading to the department looked closed and and the corridors bare and unfriendly.
However, once we got to the department, my name was immediately called out. Gemma recognised the health care as the unsmiley person of our first trip but this time she engaged me in conversation and did smile…….I was then immediately taken into see the Consultant. Obviously this felt very stage managed as this would never happen, especially when you’re early for an appointment. It also didn’t give us a chance to observe…….but hey ho.
The Consultant had been briefed on my previous experience and clearly wanted to do his best for me. I didn’t feel rushed and his examination was extremely thorough. Appointments are always very intense affairs as I’m conscious of having to concentrate really hard to try and ensure I remember everything – which I didn’t, so really glad Gemma was with me to fill in the gaps.
My balance caused most concern and one surprising thing the Consultant said was that the dementia and balance aren’t related. I know of research under way at the mo on balance and gait in dementia so not sure I agree with his thinking. However, he is sorting a scan which will look at the movement part of my brain so we’ll see …….
I remember very little about the content of the appointment but I came away feeling positive, as did Gemma. All in all I was impressed with the way the appointment went. We were with the doctor for 45 minutes, which I realise isn’t normal and probably won’t be repeated, but the effort was made, which was appreciated, but also thanks to the intervention of others.
As I waited for Gemma before we left, I spoke to 2 other families wandering lost and anxious in the corridors, unable to find where they were going, so signage and friendly faces to ask must be lacking……….funnily enough me and Gemma commented on a sign as we came into the building. I’d love to know the difference between “Emergency Care’ in one direction and ‘Emergency Department’ in the opposite – very confusing……..
The whole process was very intense – simply trying to make sure I remembered everything and having to concentrate so hard – I ended up with a banging headache, but the process served it’s purpose…..and I went away far happier than my first visit…watch this space……