Sunday, 11 March 2012

Sick Healthcare System

This weekend I've been visiting an elderly relative in hospital, Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Jordan.

It's quite a large complex and it's impressive seeing hordes of people constantly flowing in and out of the healthcare institution.

However, as an observer it's plain to see the hospital is flooded with patients and not enough qualified staff to go around.

My relative was sent by ambulance to emergency Thursday morning, but it wasn't until late afternoon she was formally admitted. She was lying on a gurney in the hallway. Later she was moved into a large room with several patients. She was placed under the television so she felt everyone was watching her, making her self-conscious and worried.

Then she was moved again to another floor where I have seen her twice. In a western hospital at most there would be six patients crammed in there, but here there were eight.

There's no room for visitors to sit and visiting times are only from 5pm to 8pm daily. If there are too many people around the bed, the nurse may shoo them away to a waiting area that hardly has enough seats for everyone.

While patients complain the hospital food is bad, their family members bring lots of food in and the nurses don't seem to care what it is, only recording on the chart what the patient says he or she has eaten.

Hardly any nurses make the rounds, only darting furtively in and out -- and I never saw a doctor come into the room.

To make my relative feel more comfortable, we are applying to have her placed in a type 2 ward where there are only two to a room and visiting hours are extended; but of course these are only available when the bed is free.

In the meantime it seems patients have to rely on the care of loved ones to ensure they are eating and even cleaned properly. There are no nurses or healthcare staff who make sure these elderly patients get up and move around at all on a regular basis.

These are my impressions for the past two days, and they are enough to make me determined not to get sick in Hong Kong.

You'll get the healthcare, but be basically neglected.

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