No one wants to be delayed when it’s time to leave hospital, but often patients end up spending longer than necessary on a ward because of circumstances beyond the nursing staff’s control.
Whether it’s waiting for medication, transport or care home beds there are so many factors that can inevitably lead to delays.
But this week staff at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are gearing up for what they hope will be the perfect week in an ambitious drive to eliminate delays.
The trust, which runs The James Cook University Hospital and the Friarage Hospital as well as a range of community services, launches its No Delays in 7 Days initiative tomorrow (Wednesday 11 October).
This week-long campaign, which has already proven successful in other NHS trusts, aims to empower staff to try out new ways of working in a move that is hoped will have a positive impact on patient care.
Departments have pledged to trial new ideas throughout the week such as:
- Having an extra consultant on wards rounds to get them completed earlier
- Ensuring patients who are well enough do not spend all day in their pyjamas to encourage them to keep mobile which will, in turn, speed up their recovery
- Having volunteers on wards to help minimise risk of falls
- Preparing drugs to take home the day before a patient is due to be discharged
- Increasing discharge lounge facilities at community hospitals
No Delays in 7 Days will run from 11 to 17 October and the whole health system has been asked to contribute including social care, mental health services and ambulance transport.
Additional support will be available to wards including corporate staff acting as liaison officers to collect data to help identify potential delays. Senior decision makers will also be instantly accessible with more senior staff on wards and a command and control centre to escalate any issues to so they can be quickly resolved.
Project Lead Berenice Groves said: “Our staff work extremely hard to minimise delays and often have great ideas about how to reduce delays and improve patient experience.
“There is daily evidence that our patients have to remain longer in hospital because they are waiting for things to happen, some of which we appreciate is out of the ward staff’s control.
“This week is about empowering these staff to challenge current processes, test new ideas and ways of working and make a difference to our patients.”
It is hoped the week will provide the evidence clinical staff need in order to support them in removing some delays in the long term.
Berenice added: “We are urging all staff to help us ease pressures during the week by avoiding non-essential meetings, emails and medical admin time.
“But patients and visitors can also help us by letting departments know if they cannot make an appointment, picking up relatives as soon as they are ready for discharge and using the hand gel provided when entering and leaving our wards.”
Follow the action throughout the week on Twitter and Facebook – just search #NoDelaysIn7Days.
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