Safer care together

1 March 2013

Clinical information lost or missing when patients transfer between residential aged care and hospital can lead to unnecessary delays in treatment. This has prompted staff involved in the delivery of acute and residential care in the Northern Region to work together on improving the quality and safety of the transfer process.

The introduction of a ‘yellow envelope’ with an integrated check list of vital patient information on it has been minimising such errors and delays in Northland. This concept has been adopted and modified as part of the Northern Region’s collaborative efforts and from 18 March 2013 will also be used across the Auckland region.

The purpose is to provide a single envelope with all the necessary forms inside that hospital or facility staff need to evaluate and manage the resident. As each document is placed in the yellow envelope the appropriate box on the check list is ticked or completed to indicate the document has been included. The envelope is also designed for use in transfers from hospital to residential aged care to ensure the required clinical information is available to provide ongoing care.

“This is a very good example of the acute and residential care sectors working together to improve safety by identifying local interventions that are effective and then implementing the solution on a regional scale, ” says Karen O’Keeffe, Clinical Lead for the First, Do No Harm patient safety programme which led the initiative jointly with the Health of Older People Network. “The envelopes have been proven to be effective at improving the safety of the patient transfer process in Northland and we can expect the same around the rest of the Region.”

The envelopes are bright and hard to miss. They will be used by residential aged care, hospital and St John staff involved in the transfer of care.