An exciting new approach to help improve patient care and experience, and reduce patients’ average length of stay in hospital has been launched by Medway NHS Foundation Trust.
The Trust has unveiled its new Medical Model – a clinical pathway for patients who are admitted on an emergency basis into Medway Hospital.
As part of the new model, all patients attending with a significant clinical presentation – chest pain for example - will now undergo a comprehensive clinical assessment within 15 minutes of arriving in the hospital’s Emergency Department.
This helps to ensure that only those patients, who really need to be admitted, are admitted, and others are referred to care elsewhere, such as the onsite GP practice, Medway on Call Care (MedOCC).
If a clinical decision is taken to admit the patient onto a ward, they will come under the care of a single named consultant who will take responsibility for their care until they can be seen by a specialist or discharged. This means patients ideally will have no more than two consultants managing their care; the initial admitting consultant and a subsequent specialist.
Patients will be given an expected date of discharge when they are admitted, enabling both patients and their families to plan accordingly, and to get back home sooner.
As a result of the Medical Model, Medway Maritime Hospital has already witnessed a 30 to 40 per cent reduction in the number of patients admitted onto acute wards - mainly because more patients are being seen, assessed and discharged on the same day.
In addition, there has been an increase in the number of patients on acute wards staying less than 48 hours. The average length of stay on acute wards also has gone down from 11 days to less than four days.
Margaret Dalziel, Director of Clinical Operations at Medway NHS Foundation Trust said: “The major change is that we are now ensuring our patients are being given the right care plan, and are being seen by the right people from the outset.
“This new approach will ultimately help reduce the number of doctors our patients see under our care, while also reducing their length of stay in hospital. The early results at our disposal show it is already having the desired effect.
“This will prove hugely beneficial in providing better patient care, reducing pressure on our Emergency Department, freeing up vital bed space and ensuring patients have a structured discharge care plan the moment they are admitted.”
The Medical Model is a vital milestone in the Trust’s Recovery Plan and firmly addresses several key points raised by the CQC in its recent inspection - one of them being to reduce the number of different doctors that patients see during their stay in hospital.
The Medical Model has also seen the introduction of board and ward rounds throughout the hospital. Board rounds provide an opportunity for doctors, nurses and allied health professionals to come together and determine how best to use the resources available that day to progress each patient’s journey through the hospital. This also means identifying patients at an early stage who are ready for discharge.