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Innovative unit halving length of stay

Innovative practice on an elderly care ward at Poole Hospital is halving the time some patients spend in hospital.

Kimmeridge is a short stay ward specialising in caring for older patients who are expected to need a hospital stay of around three to five days.

polly mayBut unlike most elderly care wards in the NHS, Kimmeridge’s advanced nurse practitioner, Polly May (right), is part of the team of doctors looking after patients.

Polly’s advanced nursing skills mean she is able to assess, diagnose and put in place treatment plans, as well as providing doctors with the benefit of her 25 years’ nursing experience at the hospital.

Each patient’s individual plan can call upon the skills of an intensive multi-disciplinary care team, ranging from specialist nurses and consultants to therapists, pharmacists, nutritionists, discharge co-ordinators and social services.

With these skills to hand, clinical decisions can be made faster, leading to quicker recoveries and shorter hospital stays, with social care support in place once home.

At the start of this year, as the new short stay approach was introduced, the average length of stay on Kimmeridge was just over 10 days – this month (December 2016), patients on average are spending just five days in hospital.

“The success of Kimmeridge has been a real team effort,” said Polly. “We wouldn’t be able to do our jobs and give the individual care our patients expect from us without the support and skills of our nursing colleagues, therapists, doctors, as well as our partners in social services.

“My role means I am able to support our doctors, and importantly get to know each and every patient. I’m based on the ward all week so can build a rapport and really understand what it is that each needs for the best recovery.

“It’s a very unusual role in an elderly care ward and I’m very proud that I’m contributing to its success.”

Dr Freyja Brown, consultant in elderly medicine, helped establish the short stay unit with colleague Dr Isabel Costello.

“Kimmeridge is making a significant and positive impact on patient care, as well as supporting our hospital,” said Freyja.

“It isn’t only patients on the unit that benefit. Because of the reduced length of stay we are able to care for more patients – almost twice as many as before – so we can help ensure that those seen in our emergency department can be admitted more quickly.

“I’d echo Polly’s view that our success reflects an innovative team approach, putting patients at the centre of their care and working with a range of skills and partners to give the best service we can.”

kimmeridge ward

Kimmeridge's multidiscplinary team marking the unit's first birthday in December 2016.

Kimmeridge forms part of a complementary range of comprehensive inpatient services for older people, ranging from very short stays on the award-winning Rapid Access Consultant Evaluation (RACE) unit to more traditional elderly care wards where patients can recover over longer periods of time.

 

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