Health Ministry receives complaint from patient regarding new Comox Valley hospital

Patient said she felt neglected during recent stay

Health Ministry receives complaint from patient regarding new Comox Valley hospital

A patient’s complaint about the new Comox Valley hospital has caught the attention of the Ministry of Health.

A pancreatic attack put Dianne Jourdain in the Courtenay hospital for a few days in October.

It wasn’t the first time the 76-year-old Comox resident had been waylaid by the painful condition. She spent a week at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Comox last year.

But the pain was worse this time around. Jourdain was hooked to an IV, and given some painkillers and medication for nausea, but otherwise she felt ignored during her stay at the newly opened facility. She was told to use the help button on the bedrail if she needed anything, but when she rang, no one came.

A neighboring patient tried to help by ringing their bell. A nurse responded, “but would do nothing except call my nurse without success,” Jourdain said. “Why couldn’t her nurse help me?”

Eventually, her IV was changed.

Jourdain had been sick the night she arrived, Oct. 25. The next morning when she went to use the commode, she said it hadn’t been cleaned.

“I wasn’t getting looked after properly,” she said. “I would rather have come home and died here than stay there. That’s how I felt.

“It (hospital) looks nice outside, but there’s many complaints that people have,” Jourdain added. “I just feel that people need to speak out.”

Jourdain did just that, sending a letter to the Minister of Health, Adrian Dix, with copies going to Island Health representatives.

The Health Ministry cannot comment on specific cases, but Island Health has followed up with Jourdain, heard her story and welcomes her feedback.

“The Health Ministry and Island Health are always concerned when patients feel that they or a loved one did not have a good care experience, and complaints are taken seriously,” a statement from the ministry says.

The ministry says B.C.’s health care staff are skilled professionals who provide “excellent, safe and quality care to patients, with compassion.”

They work hard to connect with patients and family members, appreciating the stress of hospital stays. Hospital staffing levels vary, depending on the type of unit and number of patients on a unit. This is something that is regularly assessed.

“While we have one of the best health care systems in the world, there is always room for improvement,” the statement says. “Through the review process, health authorities are always taking steps to improve care.”

Patients with concerns are encouraged to speak with their care team and to contact their health authority’s Patient Care Quality Office (PCQO). If a patient feels the PCQO’s response does not resolve their concerns, they may then wish to request a review by the Patient Care Quality Review Board (PCQRB), an independent body tasked with reviewing and reporting on patient care complaints.

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