News & Events
Home Care access improved through Lean
Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region (RQHR) clients are getting help from Home Care sooner as a result of a Lean project launched by Home Care and the System Wide Admission and Discharge Department (SWADD).
“We’ve seen a major improvement for urgent referral wait times for clients, especially priority ones that really need the services,” said Marjorie Ingjaldson, director of SWADD.
Wait times across all of Home Care and SWADD’s service areas have dropped from between 25 and 70 per cent. Services range from Home Care, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and the Assessment Admission Review Team.
To achieve this success, the team looked at all points of flow for patient and referral information through the Home Care system, making both subtle and substantial process changes, as a result.
“The establishment of client priority levels was the most significant change of practice,” said Ingjaldson. “Now we have four triage levels to bring clients in. We treat the Level 1s as urgently as we can; knowing that the Level 4s are safer to wait a couple days.”
More than 30 inconsistent referral forms were condensed to create one standard electronic referral form. The group also standardized the flow of electronic information. This created a “pull through” system, enabling service areas to triage their clients and better manage their workload.
“The problem boiled down to inconsistent and wasteful process steps to get information flowing through the system and get the client to their first Home Care visit,” said Ingjaldson. “We wanted to achieve a standard of work for referrals, so we could have higher patient and caregiver satisfaction.”
The Home Care/SWADD team consisted of 16 members which included caregivers (nursing, therapies), administrative staff (client information, scheduling) and one client representative. Most project work took place between March and July.
The project was established after a 2011 access-to-hospital review found that, in some cases, clients experienced delays in accessing Home Care, causing them to be admitted to hospital.
The team chose to employee Lean concepts to maximized patient value and minimized process waste.
The group is continuing to fine tune improvements and are looking forward to further developing the new system.
Home Care/SWADD team celebrate their success in improving access to Home Care
Photo credit: Medical Media Services