COURTENAY, B.C- Island Health has released every formal complaint about the Comox Valley hospital since it’s opening day.
The health agency made the move in response to a Freedom of Information request from the Comox Valley Record.
The paper had been looking for copies of all complaint letters received by Island Health in their Patient Care Quality Office, focused on the new hospital in the Valley, between October 2nd, 2017, and April 18th, 2018.
The health authourity released summaries of 38 complaints that had occurred in that time. Of the 38, five were focused on signage at the hospital, six were concerning the facility, one with technology, and 28 taking issue with patient care.
A total of three were submitted in October, four more in November, and then another four in December. 12 came in during January, six in February, five more in March, and then three, during the first half of April.
One of the complaints did not have a date, though the health agency indicated that it was from either November or December.
Of the patient care complaints, the issues were varied. One of the October complaints focused on a patient being discharged and told to drive home after fasting at the hospital, while another from January took issue with a nurse’s artificial nails and hand-washing.
One long complaint took issue with staffing at the facility.
“Physicians trying to send patient home prematurely,” read the complaint summary.
“Nurses are handling too many patients at a time without adequate support. Witnessed nurse having to clean a commode and wiping down a bed after patient discharged. Misallocation of nursing time to other activities. Family had to provide care because nurse was cleaning a bed and unavailable for care. Inadequate numbers of workers in the hospital even though there are adequate beds. Heard and witnessed patient waiting for three days or more to get cups, lids, straws etc. for patients to safely drink from. Inadequate quality control. Tax dollars spent on fancy areas, furniture, and big screen televisions but only witnessed one security guard using it in several weeks. Money is misallocated and should be used to hire more caregivers and open up the wards that are fully equipped but understaffed. Disagrees with banning Christmas décor due to germs and notes there are more germs from visitors. Volunteers are not allowed on the 4th floor transition ward. Public and hospital staff are not listened to. Discontinue the practice of spending funds on items that do not help people.”
Another was focused on an on-call physician not being woken up.
“On-call physician not contacted soon enough and patient’s health issue continued to deteriorate as a result – was told that ER staff did not like to wake physician,” read the complaint.
“Physician did eventually attend between 0600-0700 hours, but patient needlessly suffered for several hours. On-call should mean available overnight.”
A statement from Island Health about the complaints mentioned “transitional challenges” as part of the move to the new hospital.
“For the most part the move has gone exceptionally well,” read the statement.
“We appreciate the staff, medical staff, volunteers and the community who have been vital partners in this successful transition. The 38 complaints submitted to our Patient Care Quality Office represent approximately 2/10ths of 1 per cent of all patients served at the Comox Valley campus during that time period.”
They took the number of complaints as a sign that the “vast majority” of people were satisfied with the care at the new hospital, and stated that all complaints are investigated and taken seriously.
“We work with care teams as part of our review,” read the statement.
“We report back to every complainant and as a learning organization we use those findings to implement positive changes on the local level, and Island Health-wide where appropriate.”
A link to the full list of released complaints can be found here: 380699086-FOI18209-Response-Record