I apologise in the delay for the last end of the week, here’s Wednesday in surgery.
Wednesday in surgery and it would be assumed that a morning shift for a GP and student would be relatively quiet considering I was only scheduled to be in for a few hours…
We saw a 5 year old boy with acute tonsillitis. His Mum told us how he had just got over his last case and was suddenly suffering again. A quick check over and all seemed fine in his observations, his chest was clear and he wasn’t struggling for breath. We took a throat swab just to confirm if the infection is bacterial. All, in all, it was apparent that this young boy had seen his fair share of GPs, even his throat swab didn’t phase him! He currently already had a referral back to ENT so we didn’t have to do any referrals this time, although it was discussed that the possibility of having his tonsils removed maybe the answer. He was prescribed with antibiotics as it was fairly certain this was an ongoing bacterial infection, despite the swab, and they were advised to come back if symptoms persisted, deteriorated and to call for his results.
An elderly gentleman attended surgery for a check up on a boil that was present near his stoma site. He had previously been in and started medication to help clear this up. The difference after his short course of medication had been noticed immediately and the boil looked very minimal, swelling and redness weren’t visible and it was healing nicely. He still had 4 days worth of his medication so was advised to continue and if he had any problems, he was to come back in, although we didn’t anticipate there would be any.
A middle-aged woman came in with persistent headaches, her temporal pulse was stronger on her right side, the side associated with her headaches. She said she suffered from similar symptoms expected from conjunctivitis – matted eyes in the mornings although, on seeking advice from an optician, her eyes were given the all clear. We performed a short eye exam and put dye into her eyes, examined them under UV which showed no fluorescence. We checked all her reflexes, BP and temperature. She was booked to get bloods taken as the Dr was concerned that the headaches could be something more serious e.g. query tumor on the blood vessel that supplies the brain and optics.
A male presented with a moles on his back that his wife had noticed some colour change. He had a history of BCC so they were of course being cautious. We examined the moles and all looked normal in appearance, were soft and squidgy to the touch. There were no signs of malignancy. After informing them that they were benign they were happily sent on their way but ensured that if they had any doubts, to return.
Every week, the practice holds a Multi-Discipline Team Meeting. It gives the opportunity to discuss patients with District Nurses, OT, Physio, Safeguarding, Care and the Cumbria ICC (Integrated Care Communities). Patients are brought to attention and any concerns that are currently held for the patient raised. This can be as simple as discussing the fact that a patient has been admitted to hospital and is due discharge, the discussion of why they were admitted and what help; if any, that they require in place for discharge.
Patients raised today were:
- A gentleman was discussed regarding his dementia and history of falls. He is often confused as to who visits him and when, does not know who his help is and there are cognitive concerns raised by his daughter. He has a history of strokes.
- A breast cancer and Alzheimer’s patient who’s primary carer is her husband who is battling with bowel and ? bladder cancer. It is known that the wife is palliative. Concerns for her care as her husband is also in a position of needing support, himself.
- A male who has been involved in adult social care, DN have noticed his right leg has been swollen, he is not eating or drinking and also appears to be wearing the same clothes he was wearing last week on their visit. He lives alone and is showing signs of self-neglect despite being supported by care 4 times a day. He is housebound and is very adamant that he does not require help and will decline it rather sternly when it is offered.
- A patient being discharged from hospital imminently of spinal stenosis and is currently catheterised. She will be followed up but the discussion was surrounding her further care at home of which, she currently has a hospital bed at home and care being provided for her.
Our home visit was to an elderly gentleman who’s son had requested the visit. We arrived and it was already apparent that this gentleman was struggling. He was extremely weak, pale pallor, visibly struggling for breath and breathing laboured. His oxygen saturation was low, his chest incredibly crackly and overall presentation poor. It was apparent that he would be an admission and due to his condition it was to be via ambulance. It was explained to his son that he should get things ready for an admission and that he was query chest infection that had progressed to pneumonia. Due to the lack of landline and being in an incredibly rural area, the call for an ambulance had to wait until we were able to get back to the surgery. Not ideal but overall the better option than hunting for somewhere with signal, risking it cutting out when the time taken to get to surgery would be quicker.
For a short session, there was an awful lot covered. It was great to meet with the other healthcare and social care that work behind the scenes of patient care but are ever bit as important as any other.
What I learned:
- It is important to build good relationships with other health/social care professionals – it gets jobs done quicker and is much more friendly.
- Rural house visits are rural. Be prepared to travel.
- You may also pass the ambulance that you’ve called for on your way home from the surgery.
- When patients come back to see you again, it is not necessarily because you’re doing a bad job, it can also be to review how well treatment is going.
- Your patient may be a young child but the majority of the time it may feel like their parents are the patient – they worry.
- Patients do often take your advise and do visit when they are concerned about something as trivial-seeming as a mole – it can be really important that they do and you praise them for it.
- Your instincts are not to be ignored in medicine.