Fraser Health implements plan to improve care and reduce use of hallway beds

FRASER Health on Tuesday announced a $5-million investment in health care, including hiring more health care professionals to improve the quality of care and experience for its patients and their families. This plan will help shift reliance on hospital care by preventing avoidable admissions to hospital, support more efficient processes so patients go home from hospital sooner, and increase health care supports in the community.

“It’s encouraging to see the improvements that Fraser Health is making by focusing to remove barriers that can impact the flow of patients and ensuring transition to community care is a priority,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “This aligns with the Ministry of Health’s strategic focus for health care in which we are looking at ways to reduce reliance on our hospitals.”

Reducing the use of hallway beds is a priority for Fraser Health, and these investments will help to achieve this. The health authority has introduced new processes and additional supports to help  ensure people aren’t staying in hospital longer than is necessary, so an appropriate bed is available for those in need. As a result, Fraser Health has already seen success in some of its hospitals by reducing length of stay, increasing the number of patients that go home in the morning, and decreasing the time until a bed is made available for a new patient.

“Improving the experience of care for our patients and their families is a priority for all of us and I believe if we think differently we can begin to see changes right away,” said Michael Marchbank, President and CEO, Fraser Health. “One change we are focusing on immediately is the way we have come to rely on hospitals, including beds in hallways. We are implementing a plan that gets us closer to a day when we might not need to use hallway beds at all.”

Some of the investments Fraser Health is implementing support our Home is Best philosophy, and include:

* Adding geriatric emergency nurse clinicians and quick response case managers in more emergency departments, with weekend coverage. These roles have proven successful in helping prevent unnecessary hospital admissions.

* Increasing accountability and efficiency in care and discharge planning, so patients aren’t staying in hospital longer than is necessary.

* Adding coverage of patient care coordinators on weekends to improve patient transitions. These individuals coordinate patient care activities to ensure patients are ready to go home sooner, and create more efficient hospital operations.

* Increasing availability of social workers and occupational therapists to support weekend discharges for hospitals that do not already have this available.

* Adding 11 home health liaison positions, so patients can go home sooner from hospital, and recover comfortably at home with health care supports.

* Working with residential care partners to ensure smooth transition from hospital, so people can move into residential care sooner.

“We say we want to protect our valuable and expensive hospital resources and provide more care in our communities and so with this initial investment, we can make some system changes that will help do just that,” said Marchbank. “We stand to improve a number of elements with this plan, not the least of which is the patient experience.”