DHBs collaborating to improve patient care

18 February 2014

New Zealand health professionals are teaming up to provide a better experience for people needing a hip or knee replacement or who have a fractured neck of femur.

About 80 people from the country’s 20 District Health Boards gathered in Wellington on November 15 for the first learning session of the National Orthopaedic Enhanced Recovery after Surgery (ERAS) Collaborative.

The Collaborative aims to streamline systems to enable patients to recover from hip and knee surgery faster and leave hospital sooner by minimising the stress of surgery. The approach empowers the patient to be a partner in his or her own care and starts when it is first thought surgery may be needed.

Consumer representatives, orthopaedic surgeons, geriatricians, anaesthetists, nurses, occupational therapists and physiotherapists were among those who met at Westpac Stadium to learn more about ERAS and its benefits for patients, how to implement ERAS principles with patients and families, and to hear from three DHBs that are already using ERAS principles. They also learned more about the Model for Improvement and how to run Plan Do Study Act (PDSA) cycles for testing changes.

Mr Jacob Munro, the clinical leader of the Collaborative and an orthopaedic surgeon at Auckland DHB, was one of the presenters. He spoke about the evidence for using ERAS.

Gregory Sheffield (clinical leader outpatient physiotherapy) and Mr Charlie Lewis (orthopaedic surgeon) gave an overview of the ERAS pathway at Taranaki DHB with a specific focus on the pre-operative phase.

Dr David Blundell (anaesthetist) told the attendees about the ERAS pathway at Lakes DHB, focusing on the peri-operative phase, while Mr Allan Panting (head of orthopaedics) spoke about the ERAS pathway at Nelson Marlborough DHB, in particular the post-operative phase.

Other speakers included consumer representatives Jackie Herkt, who had a total hip replacement in 2010, and Dr Chris Walsh, from the Health Quality and Safety Commission, as well as geriatrician Dr Roger Harris (Auckland DHB), clinical nurse manager Jodie Wood (Northland DHB), and improvement advisors Brandon Bennett and Suzanne Proudfoot.

“It was a productive day and provided an opportunity for people around the country to exchange ideas about how patient care can be improved,” Simon Duff, the ERAS Collaborative project team leader, said.

Clare Perry, Electives Manager, said it was pleasing to hear positive feedback on the first Learning Session of the ERAS Collaborative, and that the strong sector engagement brought a feeling of confidence and momentum to the project.

'The great thing is that this project will have a real, positive impact on patients and their experience of our health system,' she said.

'Starting the Collaborative on a successful note, with strong representation from across the sector, provides us with a solid platform for continued achievement throughout the process. ERAS is about health professionals working together with patients and their families to identify and implement strategies that will result in improved quality of care for patients. Based on the enthusiasm and commitment shown so far, I am looking forward to seeing some great outcomes.'

Two more learning sessions will be held in March and June.

Last updated: Tuesday, February 18, 2014

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