High praise for elective care team

The elective care unit at the University Hospital of Hartlepool has won national recognition for a host of improvements made.

Anwar Jafri, consultant lower limb orthopaedic and trauma surgeon, presented a poster at the British Orthopaedic Association annual conference, showing this work.

Judges were clearly impressed – Mr Jafri was presented as the winner of the clinical leaders programme poster prize award category.

He said: “It’s a fantastic achievement for the team who have all worked together to make improvements to the unit which have helped improve patient care and helped reduce costs so that more money can go directly into patient care.

“Orthopaedics at the University Hospital of Hartlepool has been part of a number of changes recently. One of these was that the service was upgraded so that patients with more complex health issues are able to have the surgery they need at Hartlepool  (known as ASA grade 3 and 4 patients).

“We also recently ran a programme where we looked at improvements which could be made to the way we run our patient operating lists and how patients recover in hospital after surgery. Staff embraced this project and came up with several excellent ideas which have since been put in place.”

Patients are now given enhanced care at Hartlepool and are monitored by an anaesthetist the day after surgery. The has helped reduce a patient’s average length of stay in hospital from 5.5 days to 3.4 days.

Other improvements have included:

  • Nutrition drinks: Patients used to be asked to drink them the night before an operation but many were not drinking them. These drinks aren’t necessary now anyway because patients are able to eat straight after surgery. This has saved around £8,000 a year.
  • Paracetamol: These cost the trust £1.25 a pack – every single patient was being given two boxes – one before and one after surgery. The trust now holds education classes at both hospitals for patients who are having surgery where they are asked to bring their own paracetamol and most are doing so (a box of paracetamol costs as little as 16p).
  • Crutches: The unit labels every pair of crutches asking patients and staff to return them – this has led to a large rise in returns.

Ward matron Linda Wildberg said: “The whole team deserves a lot of praise for the way they have come up with innovative ways of improving the care we give to our patients and then embracing these changes. Congratulations to everyone involved.”

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