A new critical care service which has been put in place at Noble’s Hospital should ensure a swift intervention for patients whose condition deteriorates.
The critical care outreach team consists of staff skilled and experienced in the care of acutely ill patients in intensive care and coronary care, who will be on call to offer expertise around the hospital, caring for patients and supporting nursing staff.
Previously specialist intensive care staff tended to focus almost exclusively within the intensive care, high dependency and coronary care units but the new team will be available to offer expertise across the hospital.
Pam Makin, who is the clinical lead for critical care outreach, said their small team of nurses who were experts in critical care would be on call daily from 7.15am to 8.45pm.
‘The team can be called by any member of the hospital teams that have concerns about a patient,’ she said.
‘It necessary, the team can arrange transfer to intesnive care or high dependency. It means we can deal with patients promptly and preventy deterioration by taking action quickly.’
She said staff were using a set of guidelines to flag up worrying patients on an early warning system. The system got under way on December 1 and during that month the team saw 89 patients and seven were transferred to one of the higher dependency units. In addition, she said there were 300 interventions in the form of advice to staff and patient reviews, for example.
‘We are taking the experts from intensive care outside on to the wards,’ she said.
The new measures were sparked following a letter sent last year signed by 10 consultants voicing concerns to the hospital’s medical director Stephen Upsdell. The letter called for urgent action on ‘shortcomings in the management of acutely unwell patients presenting to the hospital’.
Health Minister David Anderson MHK said he welcomed the improvements made to critical care services.