Health Services,

Project relieves ED pressure

Latrobe Regional Health timely emergency care eases pressure on ED

A new project being trialled at Latrobe Regional Health (LRH) is easing pressure on the Emergency Department (ED), and easing the stress on staff by making patient flow-through more efficient.

The Timely Emergency Care Collaborative (TECC) was commenced at LRH in January and so far is showing signs of success.

The project is being run and funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Institute for Healthcare Improvement across 14 health services to help improve patient flow-through, and reduce the burdens in the state’s hospitals post-COVID.

It means that ED and in-patient wait times are improving, and patients are able to be received into the hospital and discharged with greater efficacy.

TECC project manager Elizabeth Cameron (pictured above) said the project is focused on making systems more streamlined, rather than discharging patients before they are ready.

Elizabeth said the system was returning a five-fold benefit through the hospital, in which discharging one patient with more efficiency was in-turn freeing up space for five others further down the line.

“Since COVID, it’s been a struggle for our health services, staff were getting fatigued and were under so much pressure and this was obvious to patients,” Elizabeth said.

“We want the environment to be safe and calm in the hospital which involves delivering care at the right time and place, by the right people.”

LRH received funding for a dedicated Patient Flow Nurse for an eight-week trial in the ED and medical wards to help overcome some of the barriers affecting patient flow.

This nurse is organising discharge paperwork such as prescriptions and out patient referrals, organising patient transport, liaising with multi-disciplinary teams and explaining discharge plans with patients and their families.

LRH has even created an ED discharge lounge where a patient can chill out over a cuppa while their paperwork is being organised, instead of waiting in their bed.

“Patients are saying how great it is to have someone thoroughly explain their discharge plan or their diagnosis or give them fact sheets,” Elizabeth said.

“In-patients can get home and have all their letters and everything sorted for their discharge, and the floor nurse can get back to patient care.”

Through the TECC project LRH will continue to look at rolling-out more changes, and assess success rates after the project has finished.