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Nurses release more time to care

8 August 2014

Nurses release more time to care

Nurses have quadrupled the amount of time they spend with patients during a pilot of a world renowned programme at Auckland City Hospital.

The Releasing Time to Care (RTC) programme developed for Britain’s NHS empowers nurses to streamline ward processes, freeing them up to spend more time with patients.

Auckland City Hospital has adapted the programme for accelerated delivery and is rolling it out across more than 25 wards after a trial in the respiratory ward saw nurses’ direct patient care time increasing from 16 per cent to 73 per cent.

Auckland DHB chair Lester Levy says the adapted programme delivers patient-centred care, increases productivity and boosts staff morale. Those involved have adopted a philosophy of continuous improvement.

“Sustainable improvement does not come from doing one or two things 100 per cent better, but from doing a whole range of things five to 10 per cent better,” Dr Levy says.

“Some of the improvements seem really simple, for example putting the top 10 most used items in patient rooms. This relatively small act has increased direct care time with patients in neurosurgery by ten per cent,” he says.

Ward staff who took part in the pilot were asked to identify areas where processes could be more efficient and create an action plan to deliver them.

They introduced ‘bedside handovers’, in which key staff meet beside the patient’s bed to discuss exactly what will happen that day. The popular initiative puts the patient’s voice at the centre of their care.

Participants also came up with ‘patient status at a glance’ bed boards, greater involvement by all staff in ward rounds, new stickers to encourage patients to keep meal tables clear, better equipment storage and access and greater use of manual observation methods for appropriate patients.

Of the staff involved, 88 per cent now recommend their ward as a place to work compared with 66 per cent in 2010.

Patients who took part in the pilot expressed satisfaction rates of 95 per cent.


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