The Northern Health and Social Care Trust held a celebration event at the Seamus Heaney Homeplace in Bellaghy to mark the success of an improvement initiative across Antrim Area Hospital and Causeway Hospital theatres.
Quality improvement is a main priority for the Trust with an Innovation and Quality Improvement hub established to assist staff in taking forward ideas.
The Productive Operating Journey project launched last January with the aim of improving patient and staff experience, reducing delays in getting the patient to theatre and increasing efficiency within theatre.
Mary Drummond, Northern Trust Theatre Nurse and Project Lead for the programme said; “The celebration event was a great way to get the Theatre teams together and acknowledge the hard work that goes on behind all the facts and figures of improvement, it provided an opportunity for staff to stand back and look at the outcomes of their hard work. The event had a very positive vibe, staff were excited by the improvements they have achieved in 2017and we are all enthusiastic to see what improvements we can achieve in 2018 and beyond.”
Some measured improvements achieved in 2017:
Antrim Area Hospital Paediatric Buzzers
As part of the improvement journey staff wanted to enhance thecommunication flow between staff and patients. When children undergo surgery it is a very worrying time for their parents, so the team piloted the use of communication buzzers.
Parents are given a buzzer when their child goes to theatre and when the child is ready for discharge from recovery, the buzzer vibrates and sounds an alarm, signalling that they can now go to theatre door and meet their child and return to the ward alongside them.
Feedback on the buzzers has been overwhelmingly positive with parents reporting less anxiety and a feeling of security knowing they will be contacted immediately when their child is ready to leave theatre. The Trust is currently piloting the use of these buzzers in busy outpatient clinics including the diabetic antenatal clinic in Antrim Hospital.
Reducing delays in getting patients to theatre
Wards and theatres are busy areas, particularly when preparing for a patient to arrive and have surgery. Patients need to be seen by various clinical staff and even the smallest unforeseen issue or interval can result in significant delays in patients reaching theatre.
By auditing the reasons for delay, taking appropriate action to address those issues and enhancing communication between all the teams involved in getting the patient to theatre on time, delays in Antrim Area Hospital have reduced by 7% since April 2016. In the same timeframe, delays in Causeway Hospital have reduced by 13%.