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Health Matters - Helping Flo

Health Matters - Helping Flo
17 October 2018

Dr Julia Huddart, clinical lead for urgent care at NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG

Last winter was the busiest ever for healthcare and there's no reason to think that this year will be any easier. Macclesfield Hospital admits 30 patients a day and this year there have already been days when this is a challenge.

To maintain clinical safety while improving the patient experience and reducing pressure on staff, it is essential to ensure effective and timely movement of patients between departments within the hospital. Good flow is the effective and timely movement of patients between departments within the hospital and it is key to clinical safety, patient experience, and reducing pressure on staff. When flow becomes inefficient, the system clogs up and patients wait.

For that reason, we have joined with East Cheshire NHS Trust and other health and social care partners to launch a campaign called #helpingflo. The aim is to ensure that patients don’t remain somewhere longer than is clinically necessary and that they’re able to get home promptly at the end of their hospital stay. If we get it right, our patients and staff will benefit and we'll be in a much better position as we approach this winter.

So, what can the public do to help keep hospital beds free for those who need them? There are several tips below that will allow patients to be discharged when they are ready, enabling them to leave the hospital without any delays.

The five top tips are:

  • Don’t assume you / your relative will be admitted even if your GP refers you for urgent hospital assessment. Sometimes GPs refer people directly to hospital for assessment and they will often be taken in an emergency ambulance. However, they may well be discharged after appropriate investigation, so it’s vital they have relatives/carers ready to help get them back home in a timely manner.
  • Please prioritise collecting your relatives or friends as soon as they are ready to be discharged. Any delay in a patient being collected by a relative or carer once ready for discharge, even for just a few hours, can impact on the availability of beds for other people. Patients are usually ready for collection by 11am on their day of discharge.
  • Ensure you/your relative has the right footwear, clothes and essential belongings if they are admitted. This can help prevent falls and keep patients as active and mobile as safely possible, which may in turn shorten the length of their overall admission. 
  • Please consider that ongoing care/assessment after leaving hospital may not be as close to home as you would like. If you turn down ongoing care because it is not as close to home as you would like, it could mean that no bed is available for a poorly patient in A&E who really needs it. And while you are waiting for an alternative to become available, you may also be missing out on important therapy to aid your rehabilitation.
  • Please make sure all practical arrangements are in place for your discharge. Please make us aware of any help you might need with issues like transport and help at home well in advance of your discharge, so this does not delay your discharge.