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Northland Patient Safety Initiative Comes Full Circle

Media Statement
6 June 2013

Northland Patient Safety Initiative Comes Full Circle

Patients throughout Northland and Auckland who transfer between residential aged care and hospital can expect it to be safer following the introduction of a standardised transfer of care yellow envelope. The brightly-coloured envelope was developed initially by Northland District Health Board (DHB) and has been in use for two years and adapted slightly to enable a regional roll-out.

“Northland DHB had been using a yellow envelope with a check list printed on it to ensure that vital patient information accompanies patients transferring for acute care. This simple process has been found to improve care by having the relevant clinical information to hand and minimising unnecessary delays,” says Margareth Broodkorn, Director of Nursing & Midwifery, Northland DHB. “The Northern Region patient safety campaign First, Do No Harm in partnership with the Health of Older People Network identified benefits in spreading this initiative across the region. It has been a very good example of acute and residential care sectors working together to spread effective interventions that will improve safety.”

“One of the great outcomes for me is that my nurses are able to focus on the information that will best help transfer the patient to and from residential aged care,” says Mandy Bax, Ward 16 Whangarei Hospital Nurse Manager.

Tracy Donker, Merrivale Rest Home Clinical Nurse Manager, has seen first hand the benefits the yellow envelopes bring to patients, their families and care staff.

“One of the pieces of information in the yellow envelope is the drug chart which records the last time a patient has had medication. Having this information means we can ensure that the patient receives the medication they need on time.”

The yellow envelope is now being used by residential aged care, hospital and St John staff involved in the transfer of care.


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