Consumer participation key to meeting national standards

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Macquarie University Hospital creates effective, meaningful strategies to meet national standards by keeping  patient engagement and staff education high on the agenda

In meeting the Australian Government’s new national standards, Macquarie University Hospital prioritised patient engagement and staff education to make its ‘partnering with consumers’ standard an outstanding success.

Early in 2013, Macquarie University Hospital set to work on developing a range of innovative strategies to ensure full compliance with the Australian government’s new National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards. The key to achieving these standards, in particular partnering with consumers, was developing a diligent project plan and creating a core team that assisted in its roll out across all levels of the organisation. Through a methodical approach and the harnessing of a number of tools to lift staff engagement and compliance, Macquarie University Hospital was able to boast being one of the first facilities in the country to roll out all 10 standards.

“Every single standard involves some kind of patient involvement,” said Sue Dawson, deputy director of Clinical Services at Macquarie University Hospital, who also served as quality manager during the 12-month compliance process. “With this in mind, we kept consumer participation high on the agenda for the development and implementation of each standard, always focusing on effective strategies that would be meaningful for patients and carers.”

Key initiatives included the development of a quality board to display information regarding hospital performance and quality activities such as falls and infection rates, as well as activities that extended to community involvement outside the hospital.

Informing patients took place through initiatives such as a patient compendium that provided information about the services the hospital offers, and how and why the national standards were being implemented in clinical practice. In addition, the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare (ACSQHC) resources, such as patient rights and responsibilities posters, were displayed in admission areas in 17 different languages along with a braille copy.

“We also involved patients in the review process for hospital-produced publications,” said Ms Dawson. “This involved amending the patient feedback form to allow patients to nominate themselves as patient reviewers, then developing a reviewer database, which was used in developing our patient compendium and the My Stay booklet.”

The hospital installed small whiteboards in each patient room that now capture key staff, medical and patient information. Nursing staff write their names on the board at the commencement of a shift, along with other information the patient would like – for example, tests to be conducted during the shift, the kind of diet they are on, and when their next pain medication is due. The whiteboards are also used to identify if a patient is at risk of falls or pressure areas by the use of a magnet that uses the ‘Falls and Pressure Injuries’ standards icons with the permission of the ACSQHC. Auditors from the commission noted that they had not seen this strategy used before.

To engage consumers in early detection of clinical deterioration, criteria for calling a clinical review were changed to include ‘any serious concern by a family member’. And clinical handovers were moved from a private room to the patient’s bedside – also involving family members, if present.

Caption: MUH created a core team to assist in the implementation of Standard 2

By Andrea Lewis

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