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Medical assessment planning unit showing benefits

7 October 2005

Medical assessment planning unit showing benefits four weeks in

Just four weeks in to the introduction of a new medical assessment planning unit (MAPU) at Tauranga Hospital, Pacific Health Chief Operating Officer, Graham Dyer says preliminary feedback is good.

“We are already seeing the positive results of the new unit, with a reduction in patients displaced in other wards, shorter ward rounds and a reduction in gridlock in the emergency department,” says Mr Dyer.

The 20-bed MAPU, which is currently operating on a trial basis in ward 6, is designed to give patients prompt assessment and treatment by dedicated, multi-speciality staff, including senior medical officers, nurses and allied health teams. When the unit is fully functioning it will also mean reduced delays for diagnostics such as radiology, pathology and clinical physiology.

During the initial trial, the ward will continue to maintain 10 general medical beds and facilities for patients with infectious diseases who require isolation.

MAPU Project Owner, Audrey Evison, says the phased introduction is seen as the most effective way of setting up the new unit.

During this first phase of the trial, which began on 15 August, there has been no change to the emergency department process for medical patients. However, once the patient is stabilised, they are now admitted to the MAPU for further concentrated assessment, diagnostics and treatment.

“The target time for discharge of these patients is 36 hours,” Mrs Evison. “If they cannot be discharged in this time, they are transferred to a general medical bed in ward 5 or ward 7 for ongoing care.”

A date for the implementation of phase two, which will accommodate GP-referred patients, has yet to be established. After emergency department triage, patients who meet categories 3, 4 or 5 will be transferred directly to the MAPU. All category 1 or 2 medical patients - or medical patients who are self-referrals - will be treated initially in the ED. They will then be transferred to the MAPU if they are staying less than 36 hours, or to ward 5, 7 or the CCU if a longer stay is anticipated.

Mrs Evison says a team of people have been working hard to introduce new systems which improve patient flow and ongoing refinement of processes and systems will occur during both phases.

Planning for the MAPU has provided staff with an “excellent focus” for addressing some existing problems and the trial is expected to be of great benefit for the development of the assessment planning unit (APU), Mrs Evison says. The purpose-built APU, which is part of Project LEO, will cater for medical and surgical patients referred by their GPs. It will operational in 2007/2008.


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