Miscommunication and misunderstandings are sometimes reasons why patients stay longer in hospital.
To address this, Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust has been working alongside Community Services and external agencies to run the ‘Breaking Barriers for Patients’ project.
Launched last week, the seven day initiative focused on patient discharge and the more effective use of community care outside of the hospital setting.
Whilst running the ‘Breaking Barriers for Patients’ initiative, the Trust was supported by the local Councils, Community Trusts and partner agencies, as well as the whole health economy to see how we could work even better together and improve our patient experience further. We identified key areas of problem solving in relation to complex discharges, length of stay and admission reviews.
By using new systems and processes, we have worked hard to improve and maintain our patient flow through our Hospitals. The SAFER bundle is one of the new systems which have been introduced by the Trust enabling teams to provide safe and timely care for patients. The bundle has been embedded into our daily clinical routines.
S – Senior Review. All patients will have a consultant review before 10am followed by a ward or board round.
A – All patients will have a planned discharge date set (that patients are made aware of) based on the medically suitable for discharge status agreed by the clinical teams.
F – Flow of patients will commence at the earliest opportunity from assessment units (AMU & SAU) to inpatient wards.
E – Early discharge. 50 percent of our patients will be discharged from inpatient wards before midday.
R – Review. A weekly systematic review of patients with extended lengths of stay to identify the issues and actions required to facilitate discharge. This will be led by senior leaders within the Trust.
Bronze, silver and gold commands were on hand to support teams in dealing with issues as they came about. Bronze (ward liaison officers) liaised with ward staff on the wards to remove obstacles to care and smooth systems. Silver (site management teams for each of the Trust’s hospitals) gathered information from the wards. Gold (Trust’s executive director) then met with the site management teams twice a day to review the information collected by the silver commands.
Following the success of the ‘Breaking Barriers for Patients’ initiative at the Trust, we will continue to work closely with Community Services and external agencies to provide safe and timely care for patients and further improve our patients’ experiences with us.