Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says the initiative Releasing Time to Care is helping to free up time so patients in hospital can benefit from more one-on-one care.
“We have a dedicated health workforce, passionate about delivering the best possible care to patients and families across the country,” says Dr Coleman.
“Releasing Time to Care supports the health workforce to spend more time on the frontline, delivering quality services to those who need it. As well as enhancing the quality of care, the programme helps to reduce paperwork.”
Releasing Time to Care, also known as The Productive Ward, is one in a set of programmes within The Productive Series to help guide staff to review and change the way they work to streamline processes and benefit patients.
18 DHBs are currently implementing elements of the Releasing Time to Care programme. In Auckland DHB for example, 55 clinical areas are involved in Releasing Time to Care.
“Auckland DHB now have 14 wards where staff spend more than 60 per cent of their time providing direct care at the bedside, up from 34 per cent before the programme began,” says Dr Coleman.
“Releasing Time to Care has also seen the number of times a nurse is interrupted during a shift more than half. That’s returned more than two hours of direct care to each nurse per shift.
“These results come from lots of small steps. Departments have focused on improving one significant ward process per month. This includes having the right equipment in place and ready to go, to introducing bedside handovers, and ensuring that patient checks are carried out at set intervals.”
Waikato DHB has trained 1,733 staff in 39 work areas in Releasing Time to Care. As a result, for example, the DHB has dramatically reduced paperwork in the Elective Short Stay Unit.
“Waikato’s staff designed a care plan for patients facing post-operative short stays. Trials of the plan have cut paperwork around admissions from 10 pages down to two pages,” says Dr Coleman.
“The Elective Unit is a high flow area and results from this trial will be shared across other parts of the hospital.”