I have just experienced a nightmare at Vernon Jubilee Hospital. I was admitted to the emergency department with agonizing abdominal pain which was diagnosed as acute diverticulitis.
I was administered two IV antibiotics with Dillaudid to control the pain. I was there for two days with frequent bouts of diarrhea. I was out in isolation, it was quiet and the pain was controlled.
After two days, I was transferred to a nursing floor.
We went up the elevator and entered the third world of health care.
They began with the request for my personal history in the hallway where I was placed against the wall under a main light with a makeshift privacy screen at the end of my original stretcher and a sheet pinned to IV poles.
Quality standards for safety and patient care? There was no call bell in the hallway. There were constant alarms right next to my stretcher, which had a rail which clearly was not meant to be lowered by a patient. There was a toilet across the hall in a utility room, which I could not reach in time on more than one occasion during my stay.
It was humiliating and an infection control concern to say the least. I found a mattress against the wall, put it at the end of the hall and lay down. At 10 p.m. the nurse told me I had to return to my stretcher for safety reasons. I asked if the mattress would fit on the stretcher and thankfully, it did.
In the morning my doctor chided me for causing a fuss. I said, “Look at this, this isn’t nursing.”
“They are doing the best they can with what they have,” he answered. He told me to write a letter.
Later that morning, I was told I was being discharged. No follow-up instructions. Getting washed up had never been mentioned. I was given a taxi voucher because I had been unable to get through to my friends on the phone they had given me. They would not allow me to use the phone at the nursing station when I asked.
Humiliated, I walked to the elevator in open-back hospital pajamas, sockless in slippers and a green garbage bag with my soiled clothes. I took the elevator to the main floor and walked down the hallway past the snack bar and got into the cab. No call bell, no hygiene, no privacy or dignity, no discharge or follow-up instructions; all basic nursing standards.
When I had left disgruntled, the nurse I had looked sad.
“They’re doing the best they can with what they have,” is true.
The point is they are not given a fraction of the resources they need to do basic care. Why? Because the managers and micro-managers have taken all of the resources away. These nurses and staff are so overwhelmed and understaffed.
Employees are discouraged and stressed with the overflow of patients and minimal quality of care available due to short staffing and lack of resources.
The Interior Health Authority is not being held accountable for the millions of dollars it sucks out of the Okanagan region.
The patients are just a source of their income.
Speak up for our nurses, our patients, our tax dollars and our families.
Where are our resources for patient occupancy overflow? Why are patients being shuffled around within facilities and hospitals for an unexpected surge of patients during the yearly occurring flu season when we just added on to our VJH?
And why are we, in Canada, still so short-staffed we cannot provide quality care?