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Stronger together as we work to improve patient flow

One of Quinte Health’s priorities is to improve patient flow through emergency departments, between units and hospitals/regional hospital partners, and back to the most appropriate care setting in the community. As our emergency departments and inpatient units continue to experience unprecedented patient volumes and acuity, patient flow and access to care in the right location is often a challenge.  But there is SO MUCH incredible work underway, which is all contributing to our goal of improving patient flow.

Let’s start by looking at what we do within our Quinte Health hospitals to enhance patient flow and access to care.

  • Multiple times per day, representatives from each unit and many departments gather together for a quick bed meeting called a ‘Bed Scrum’. During this time together, they identify pressure areas, barriers and priorities, and work together to create solutions. “These meetings make a huge difference,” said Angela Roode, Program Director of Medicine, Post-Acute & Patient Flow. “As we continue to see access pressures, being agile and responsive and having everyone together involved in planning makes all the difference.”
  • Work is being done on a Patient Flow Stability Plan, which includes a review of admission practices, bed assignment approaches, discharge practices and surge planning. This involves ensuring we admit appropriately with the principles of Right Care, Right Time, Right Bed the First Time.
  • We continue to add beds to Quinte Gardens Transitional Care Unit (TCU), which provides care for patients who no longer require acute care but still require restorative care support. This helps to free up acute care beds within our hospitals for patients who require them. By mid-December we will have 24 beds open at Quinte Gardens. The TCU is located at Quinte Gardens Retirement Residence and is staffed by Quinte Health care providers.
  • Each Thursday, Quinte Health leaders gather via Zoom for a situational awareness system response team meeting to discuss and make plans to address hot spots in patient flow, staffing, and respiratory illness levels – working together to support our teams.
A Quinte Health Bed Scrum

“Our teams are aligned and we’re all in this together,” said Lina Rinaldi, Vice President and Chief Nursing Executive. “We are all committed to ensuring equitable access to care for all patients who present to Quinte Health. Our staff, physicians, leaders, Patient Flow and Bed Traffic Control (BTC) teams are instrumental in our day-to-day operations. Patient Flow and BTC Manager, Sarah McParland, is a true champion and advocate for ensuring patients receive the right care in the right setting.”

We are also working with community partners on various initiatives to help with emergency department diversion and improved discharge practices. Here are a few examples of the excellent work underway.

  • 25% of our acute care beds are being used by Alternate Level Care (ALC) patients who no longer require hospital care and are awaiting discharge to long-term care (LTC) or another location. It is our goal to reduce the number of ALC patients in our hospitals and we are implementing a Quinte@Home program in collaboration with our Hastings Prince Edward Ontario Health Team (HPE OHT) partners and Home and Community Care Support Services (HCCSS). This program creates care pathways for eligible patients to be cared for safely at home on discharge, or to not be admitted to the hospital when possible (if presenting to the ED). Through this program, patients are connected with a coordinator who ensures the patient will receive services such as nursing, physiotherapy, personal support; Community Support Services such as Meals on Wheels, community transportation, social/wellness programs; and Primary Care such as post-discharge follow up, pharmacy services and patient education.
  • We are developing a Quinte Health rapid response mobility team to support early discharge or divert an admission for individuals who would benefit from more timely and intensive rehabilitation/therapy in collaboration with HCCSS.
  • We are working on a harm reduction strategy with local police services to address and develop proactive plans for supporting individuals with mental health and addiction issues.
  • We are working with HPE OHT partners on a remote care monitoring program for individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The goal is to care for COPD patients remotely in the community so they do not require acute hospital care.
  • Hastings-Quinte Paramedics is seeking support to expand its paramedicine program, in partnership with our emergency departments, to respond to elderly patient falls – helping to divert emergency department visits.
  • We are implementing a COVID, Cold & Flu Care Clinic during this busy respiratory illness season, which patients can utilize after-hours and on weekends instead of presenting to our emergency departments. This is in partnership with Belleville and Quinte West Community Health Centre and Gateway Community Health Centre in Tweed, along with community primary care in Hastings Prince Edward and HPE OHT.

“I’m so energized by our community partners and primary care supporting our efforts,” said Lina. “Everyone is coming together for a common purpose and it’s really making a big difference to our local health care system. We truly are stronger together. A huge thank you to all of our partners.”