New scheme will speed up hospital discharge

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A system to speed up hospital discharge and help prevent bed-blocking is being piloted at Kettering General Hospital.

It is hoped the new computer software will stop people having to hang around waiting to be discharged and will make the process run more smoothly.

It will mean beds are available to new patients more quickly and that staff will be able to access real-time information about bed capacity.

The new initiative Discharge Jonah Project involves using a computer software package – called Jonah after one of its founders – which staff can add to on a regular basis during the day to ensure that information around a patient’s discharge is fully up to date.

It also helps highlight barriers to that discharge so they can be prioritised and tackled by the ward team.

This improves the quality of patient care because it means patients are seen, treated and discharged back home to their families as soon as possible.

Project manager Dione Rogers said: “The Jonah project is based around the theory that any complex system is only as strong as its weakest link.

“When you look for why a system is developing bottle necks it is easy to use generalisations to cover that.

“But the Jonah system – because staff update it regularly – can actually give us evidence for what causes delays.

“The Jonah project is currently being piloted on Naseby A and B, Lamport and Twywell and Deene B wards.

“It is used in coordination with daily discharge meetings and it is helping us to prioritise tasks and hit challenging self imposed discharge targets.

“We launched this in September so we are still gathering the evidence and looking for patterns but so far the areas we think we need to focus on are getting more frequent medical reviews by senior doctors, sorting out discharge paperwork and working more closely with community hospitals.

“We are already seeing advantages for patients. Both the patients and their families can plan better for a discharge date and by being more organised there is less of a last minute rush to get people ready.

If the project is a success it will be rolled out across the main wards, assessments areas and A&E.