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Bay of Plenty DHB quality improvement project earns international praise

Te Tāhū Hauora Health Quality & Safety Commission
20 September 2018

A project aimed at reducing the impact of hospital stays on the health of older people, was recognised at the International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare held recently in Melbourne.

The project from Tauranga Hospital ‘Tales from the red chair, APU and the PARIS process’ focuses on moving patients, particularly older people, through or out of the hospital system as quickly as possible to prevent their physical condition deteriorating.

More than 400 posters and videos of health care quality improvement projects were on show at the conference, from countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong.

From the 400 entries, three were shortlisted to present their project on stage to a panel of judges. Dr Grimwade from Bay of Plenty District Health Board (DHB) presented alongside a nurse from Japan, who had developed a safety checklist for ICU nurses, and a paediatrician from Australia who introduced a telehealth system into a rural community.

The DHB’s work was chosen as the winner and featured as part of a five-poster display at the conference, as well as having a video about the project played at the conference opening ceremony.

The team recognised that older patients’ physical condition can deteriorate quickly when in hospital, and they came up with a way to both minimise the impact of being in hospital and help to transition consumers through and out of hospital faster. The ultimate aim is to get consumers well and back home, sooner than they expected, and before being an in-patient impacts on their physical condition.

The team achieve this by:

  • replacing some beds in the assessment and planning unit (APU) with ‘red chairs’ so that patients are not being put into bed needlessly
  • keeping patients in their own clothes as much as possible, which helps with the psychology of feeling like a ‘patient’
  • taking people who are referred from their GP straight to APU so they don’t have to wait in ED
  • having an inter-disciplinary team actively seek out frailer patients so a close eye is kept on them.

The changes have been met with positive feedback from families and whānau and DHB staff. A similar project is now underway at Whakatāne Hospital.

A video about the project is available to view on Vimeo:

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