Hospitals will get a shot in the arm

District health boards are snapping up a British National Health Service initiative to improve productivity in hospital wards and operating theatres

The Productive Operating Theatre and Productive Wards Releasing Time to Care programmes involve relatively lowcost and simple measures

Bay of Plenty District Health Board among the first to implement the programmes in 2009 has reported some dramatic improvements

At Tauranga Hospital which has a high proportion of elderly patients patient falls and medication errors have been slashed

In one ward which has completed all modules medication errors were cut by 85 per cent and patient falls by 50 per cent DHB director of nursing Julie Robinson said

A review by staff found that nurses were often interrupted by patients other staff and visitors as they were giving out medication

Nurses now wear a high visibility vest when issuing medication so people know not to disrupt them Robinson said

Patient falls decreased after nurses were given time to identify a problem area which was difficult for patients to navigate around

Atrisk patients are now kept away from the area

Nurses are also each spending an extra hour and 45 minutes with patients per shift on average due to less time spent searching for equipment

Its simple stuff Good basic housekeeping Its making sure things are tidy have a place and that you dont have too much equipment Robinson said

The United Kingdoms National Health Service developed the programmes in response to frustrations by theatre staff in delays to starting the day which sometimes resulted in cancelled operations

The delays were due to issues like staff turning up late after being unable to find a carpark battling with faulty theatre doors and being unable to find equipment

The key to the programmes success in Britain as well as New Zealand is that staff have identified their own areas of concern and implemented change

Teamwork is also a component with firstname introductions with surgeons giving nurses a confidence boost

If a surgical team is happy and working well its going to be a better outcome for the patient Robinson said

It involves simple effective things naming each person in the team introducing each other and being thanked at the end of a surgery

And nurses are happier with staff turnover in the Tauranga pilot ward dropping from an average of three a month to one

The programme is being rolled out to the rest of the wards in Tauranga and Whakatane hospitals Waitemata Auckland Tairawhiti Taranaki Whanganui Hawkes Bay Hutt Valley and Southern DHBs are among those also getting on board

Date : 09 Apr, 2012
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