North Bay – When Board members from the North East Community Care Access Centre (North East CCAC) and the North Bay Regional Health Centre (NBRHC) met to discuss opportunities for cooperation and collaboration in September 2012, few could have envisioned the remarkable success those meetings would initiate.
One challenge identified early on was the length of time patients were waiting in hospital for long-term care – sometimes more than 250 days. It was a statistic that both organizations knew had to change.
A formal partnership agreement was signed and staff teams began identifying barriers to placement and setting targets to smooth and improve the transition between hospital and long-term care, which sometimes means waiting at home.
“Collaboration is key…collaboration with our partners in care and with our patients and families. When we discuss discharge planning, the patient, family, doctor, nurse, social worker and CCAC staff all function as a cohesive team to make realistic plans for transition home or to a safe community setting. In addition, we have created improved processes to ensure safe and effective care before, during and after discharge,” says Nancy Jacko, Vice President, Planning, Partnership, and Professional Practice, and Chief Nursing Executive.
With a modest target of a 10% decrease in the length of stay for these patients, in just one year the average length of stay reduced by 66% to 75 days. The joint initiative also saw improvements in Emergency Department wait times and overall hospital occupancy rates in North Bay.
“In addition to the collaboration on discharge planning, another key to our success in North Bay has been the engagement and education of front line staff, family physicians, pharmacists, retirement homes, Community Support Services, and indeed, the entire community,” says Frankie Vitone, Senior Director Care Coordination, North East CCAC. “It is understood that safe patient transitions within the system and into the community are everyone’s responsibility.”
The NBRHC and the North East CCAC are now developing a common goal for timely referrals and assessments in order to improve patient transitions and care planning, and further decrease unnecessary days in hospital.
The North East CCAC plans to replicate this collaborative model with the three other large urban hospitals in the region.
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