This week Blackpool Teaching Hospitals is participating in the #TeamFyldeCoast improvement week in collaboration with health and care partners across Lancashire and South Cumbria.
The exercise will build on what has been learnt responding to the pandemic, test new ways of working and ensure people have the best possible experience of health and care services.
Today’s focus is on the Electronic Ward Tracker
We spoke with David McGhee, Divisional Director for Integrated Medicine and Patient Flow, who explains the important role which the Electronic Ward Tracker plays in the patient journey to discharge.
“All of our wards are encouraged to hold a daily multidisciplinary board round. The focus of these board rounds is to decide what actions are required to progress each patient’s care, and to review the completion of actions identified at the previous board round. It is vital that this information is then accurately recorded on the board round section of our electronic ward tracker,” David said.
“This crucial information is used by our clinical management and discharge teams to identify delays in our patient’s care and to take action to resolve these. We also actively encourage our teams to escalate issues directly to the divisional management team. If we don’t know about the issues then we can’t help.
“Each one of our patients should also have an accurate estimated date of discharge (EDD) recorded on the electronic ward tracker. The EDD should be set assuming an ideal recovery pathway, unencumbered by internal or external waits. The EDD not only helps teams ensure discharge plans are in place for the predicted date, but also helps highlight delays to our team in the hospital and to our partners in social care. In addition, we encourage our teams to share the EDD with patients and their families so that they know when they are likely to go home. It helps provide hope to patients by giving them something to aim for, but also allows families a chance to plan for their loved one’s discharge.
“We have also been encouraging all of our wards to identify ‘Golden Patients’ each day. These are patients that we strongly suspect will be fit for discharge the following morning. Their discharge medications and discharge plan are prepared in advance so that the following morning they can move seamlessly from the ward to the Discharge Lounge, thus helping flow throughout the hospital.
“We are pleased to report that many of our wards have re-embraced this concept after our relaunch over the past few days. Our Discharge Lounge is a really important resource, which we also encourage our teams to use throughout the day. The earlier we free up space on our wards, the sooner we can get people through our acute pathway to a location where they can receive the ongoing care they require.”
Yesterday’s focus on the Discharge Lounge saw increased numbers says Clinical Matron, Victoria Drake, who as Matron of the Day across the Integrated Medicine and Patient Flow division saw at first hand the impact of this Improvement Week.
“I just think the fact that all wards worked so hard to get so many patients to the discharge lounge to the extent that it was full, taking into account all the other challenges that we are currently facing, I would just like to say a special thank-you to them,” Victoria said.
“Being Matron of the Day is a very challenging role you are responsible for the safe staffing of the medical division as well as ensuring that the patients are treated with good quality care and that safety is maintained. I’m fully appreciative of the pressures on the Emergency Department and the fact that they have got increasing numbers coming in to that area. Taking all that into account, I am trying to maintain safety for the Emergency Department, and for the wards, including both the patients and the staff, trying to ensure that we get as many patients as we can home safely via the discharge lounge.
“By getting the message across early on Tuesday morning, it proved very successful and it got to the point where the Discharge Lounge was at full capacity for the majority of the day.
“We need to make sure that these messages are delivered every day, not just on an Improvement Week. We need to make sure that everybody is on board with that and that we reiterate the message that the day before, we need to be prepping for that Golden Patient first thing in the morning, so that patient can be discharged or in the Discharge Lounge by 10am.
“It is a team effort right across the Trust. It is not just Medicine, I think Medicine has most of the patients in ED, but equally they take surgical patients, cardiac patients, gynaecology patients – it has to be a team effort right across the Trust. And it is a team effort, we all work very well and we have to continue to work well and communicate together.”