Accountable Care Unit

When care members are better connected with one another, patients receive the safest, highest quality care possible. That's the philosophy of Unit 4A at the Pasqua Hospital in Regina, where patients are reaping the benefits from a new care model, called the Accountable Care Unit.

Overview of The Accountable Care Unit in RQHR

Accountable Care Unit Team Photo
The Accountable Care Unit team that are part of this transformational change. PHOTO CREDIT: MEDICAL MEDIA

An Accountable Care Unit (ACU) is a team-based approach to patient care that actively involves all members of the team, including that patient and family. It integrates four key foundational elements:

  • A physician and nurse manager lead team;
  • Physician’s patients located on the same unit, rather than scattered across the facility;
  • Unit-level data enabling staffing to measure their performance and outcomes; and
  • Interdisciplinary rounds that include a quality/safety checklist that take place at the same time each day, at each patient’s bedside and include the patient and family.

Created by Dr. Jason Stein, the physician founder of 1Unit, the Accountable Care Unit incorporates a team-based approach to patient care. This model of care has been replicated in multiple sites in the U.S., UK and Austrailia where similar outcomes of increasing patient and staff satisfaction, decreasing length of stay, decreasing patient mortality and decreasing readmission rates have been demonstrated. 

Establishing the Accountable Care Unit is a key project for the Regina Qu’Appelle Health region this year; one that aligns to our Strategic Priority of enhancing the patient experience, improving quality and safety and enhancing the flow of patients through our system. RQHR received Ministry of Health funding to support the ACU pilot as the anticipated outcomes of the ACU aligns with the provincial priority to reduce Emergency Department waits and improve patient flow. The ACU supports our goal of Better Care and the principles of Patient and Family-Centred Care by delivering a true team-based approach to patient care. When a care team is better connected with one another, we ensure the patient receives the safest, highest quality care possible.

Unit 4A at the Pasqua Hospital will be the first unit in Canada to pilot an ACU and have already begun integrating elements of the Accountable Care model into their care approach and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. A six month pilot will start January 15, 2016. Achieving this type of transformational change is not as easy as it may seem. Dedicated planning, funding, workshops, scheduling and especially relationship building and staff and physician engagement on the unit are all necessary components to make this project a success.

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