Green days help patients get home sooner

Posted: October 30, 2017

Reducing patients' time spent in hospital

Patients in Swindon are spending less time in hospital thanks to a new initiative which supports staff to spot potential delays much earlier on. 

Ensuring patients can leave hospital when they are well enough to do so is one of the biggest challenges facing the NHS today and the new Red2Green way of thinking, which is being adopted by all wards and departments at the Great Western Hospital, is helping staff to do just that. 

Working on the premise that every patient's time is precious, Red2Green calls on staff to categorise every day of a person's stay in hospital as either red or green. 

Red days are those that are of no value to the patient and offer no support to their journey home - for example, a day spent in bed waiting for test results to arrive.  

Whereas a green day is any in which a patient receives care, treatment or any other intervention that moves them closer to returning home. 

Paulette Knight, Head of Site Operations, said: "As part of Red2Green, ward staff begin the day by looking at their patients and, for each one, asking whether the day will be red or green.

"If it looks like a patient will be having a red day, our teams can work together early on to resolve whatever it is that's causing them to be standing still and ultimately change their outlook from red to green.

"This relatively simple approach means teams can identify recurring problems quickly and put plans in place to stop them from being repeated." 

Having patients stuck in hospital when they are well enough to leave creates added pressure as it reduces the number of beds available for newly arriving patients. 

At any one time, it is estimated that around 40 patients at GWH are ready to leave but unable to do so. 

Another key element of Red2Green is supporting patients to speed up their own discharge process. 

Simple steps like dressing in normal clothes, moving around the ward or even just thinking about what food needs to be bought on the way home can make a person feel less like a patient and can help put them in the frame of mind that they are ready to leave. 

Paulette said: "There are some fantastic stories doing the rounds about NHS organisations that have seen patients' time in hospital reduce because of Red2Green, and there's absolutely no reason why similar success can't be repeated in Swindon.

"Since its trial run in July, more than 15 wards at GWH have signed up and we'll be looking to bring it to all remaining areas before the end of the year."

Red2Green is just one of a number of measures being taken by the Trust ahead of what is expected to be another busy winter for the NHS.

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