International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine - Volume 33, issue S1
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The International Journal of Risk and Safety in Medicine is concerned with rendering the practice of medicine as safe as it can be; that involves promoting the highest possible quality of care, but also examining how those risks which are inevitable can be contained and managed.
This is not exclusively a drugs journal. Recently it was decided to include in the subtitle of the journal three items to better indicate the scope of the journal, i.e. patient safety, pharmacovigilance and liability and the Editorial Board was adjusted accordingly. For each of these sections an Associate Editor was invited. We especially want to emphasize patient safety. Our journal wants to publish high quality interdisciplinary papers related to patient safety, not the ones for domain specialists. For quite some time we have also been devoting some pages in every issue to what we simply call WHO news. This affinity with WHO underlines both the International character of the journal and the subject matter we want to cover. Basic research, reports of clinical experience and overviews will all be considered for publication, but since major reviews of the literature are often written at the invitation of the Editorial Board it is generally advisable to consult with the Editor in advance. Submission of news items will be appreciated, as will be the contribution of letters on topics which have been dealt with in the journal.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: With the majority of antibiotics being prescribed in primary care it is of utmost importance that antimicrobial stewardship principles are adhered to in order to slow down the incidence of antimicrobial resistance. OBJECTIVE: Broad spectrum antibiotic prescribing is often seen as a proxy marker of increasing resistance within a population and so it is important that they are used sparingly, to avoid drug-resistant bacteria developing. METHOD: In Tameside and Glossop a novel approach, using quality improvement methods, was employed to allow the behaviour change to be sustained for a longer period. Practices submitted monthly broad…spectrum usage data, and if over a set target they were required to submit a “deep dive”. RESULTS: A 10.6% reduction of broad spectrum antibiotic usage was seen over the 2019-20 financial year. CONCLUSION: Over time the number of practices submitting a deep dive reduced and clinicians saw the deep dive as method to peer review their prescribing. Putting the practice staff in control of their own prescribing, allowed for a better method to sustain the improvement.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Healthwatch England estimated emergency readmissions have risen by 22.8% between 2012–13 and 2016–17. Some emergency readmissions could be avoided by providing patients with urgent out of hospital medical care or support. Sovereign Health Network (SHN) comprises of three GP practices, with a combined population of 38,000. OBJECTIVE: We will decrease the number of SHN patients readmitted within 30 days of discharge from Portsmouth Hospitals Trust following a non-elective admission (excluding Emergency Department attendance) by 40–60% by July 2020. METHODS: Four Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) cycles were used to test the administrative and clinical processes.…Our Advanced Nurse Practitioner reviewed all discharge summaries, added alerts to records, and proactively contacted patients either by text, telephone or home visit. RESULTS: 92 patients aged 23 days to 97 years were admitted onto the recent discharge scheme. Half of discharge summaries were received on the day of discharge, whilst 29% of discharge summaries were received more than 24 hours post-discharge, and one was received 11 days post-discharge. Following our interventions, there were 55% less than expected readmissions during the same time period. CONCLUSION: To allow proactive interventions to be instigated in a timely manner, discharge summaries need to be received promptly. The average readmission length of stay following a non-elective admission is seven days. Our proactive interventions saved approximately 102.9 bed days, with potential savings of 1,775 bed days over a year. We feel the results from our model are promising and could be replicated by other Primary Care Networks to result in larger savings in bed days.
Keywords: Discharge summary, post-discharge care, readmission, emergency admission, recent discharge
Abstract: BACKGROUND: This project was undertaken to improve the documentation of Just in Case (JiC) medication in a general practice. The outcome of a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats (SWOT) analysis highlighted this as an area where awareness within the practice could be improved. OBJECTIVE: A Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) approach was taken to the project and involved collaborative working and data collection from the general practice and relevant care homes. METHOD: JiC medications are used to promptly manage symptoms experienced at the end of a patient’s life and are part of the Gold Standard Framework (2006). RESULTS:…Of the patients registered at the practice with JiC medication, 37.5% were incorrectly documented. This included errors/ inaccuracy with the clinical coding, or the medication. Three patients on practice generated searches had no JiC medication in the care homes, and 4 patients had JiC boxes in the care home that was not identified by the search. CONCLUSION: This evaluation has identified documentation errors and discrepancies between practice and community records of JiC medication. A newly generated practice specific flowchart was created, with an aim of reducing the discrepancies. A guide of how to carry out a QI project like this was created for the RCGP and can be found on their website. A seminar at Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) CCG to present this project took place in 2021.
Keywords: Just in Case (JiC), anticipatory prescribing, community palliative care, Daffodil Care Standards, out of hours, general practice, quality improvement
Abstract: BACKGROUND: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust produced trust guidelines for the initial blood investigation of COVID-19 inpatients. However, insufficient education meant inconsistent adherence to this guidance. OBJECTIVE: To examine whether the implementation of a COVID-19 blood request panel improves adherence to local trust guidelines. METHOD: Between March and April 2020, initial blood investigations performed for positive COVID-19 cases were compared to guidelines. Results were presented locally and a COVID-19 panel was added to the electronic system that provided prompts for appropriate investigations. A re-audit between May and June 2020 was conducted…to assess adherence post-intervention. RESULTS: 383 patients were identified in the initial audit cohort and a sample of 20 patients were re-audited. Adherence to Full Blood Count, Urea and Electrolytes, C-reactive Protein and Liver Function Tests increased to 100% from 99.7% (p = 0.8), 99.2% (p = 0.69), 98.7% (p = 0.61), and 96.6% (p = 0.4) respectively. Coagulation screen adherence increased to 90% from 72.8% (p = 0.09). Appropriate requesting of D dimers increased to 50% from 19.9% (p = 0.001). Inappropriate troponin requesting decreased to 26.3% from 38.9% (p = 0.23). CONCLUSION: A user-friendly COVID-19 panel of investigations resulted in improved adherence to guidelines. Clear communication and education are essential to help alleviate uncertainty during a pandemic.
Keywords: COVID-19, guidelines, evidence-based medicine, care bundles, biomarkers
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Malnutrition adversely affects clinical outcomes, necessitating a prompt and accurate assessment of nutritional status on admission. A variety of tools exist to aid nutritional assessment, of which the malnutrition universal screening tool (MUST) is recommended, but remains difficult to implement in practice. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this audit was to improve the utilisation of the malnutrition universal screening tool (MUST) in the Acute Medical Unit (AMU) at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn. Specifically, patients should have a completed and accurate MUST score within 6 hours of arrival to AMU and high-risk patients (MUST score ≥2) should be referred…to dieticians within 48 hours of admission. The first cycle was conducted by March 2019 and the second cycle was completed 1 year later to allow assessment of interventions actioned after the first cycle. METHODS: We conducted a two-cycle audit evaluating the MUST completion and dietician referral rate of high-risk patients (defined as MUST ≥2) on the Acute Medical Unit in a district general hospital, with the standards of 80% and 100% respectively. A questionnaire was distributed after the first cycle exploring nurses’ current experience and competence in using MUST. RESULTS: In the first cycle, MUST scores were calculated correctly in 111/150 patients (74%) and 1/9 (11%) high-risk patients were referred to dieticians. After interventions, MUST scores were calculated correctly in 77/101 patients (76%) and 2/4 high-risk patients (50%) were referred to dieticians. The nurses (n = 19) who took part in the questionnaire felt confident in MUST completion, but the average score in an objective assessment was 67%. CONCLUSIONS: As per the literature, the first cycle demonstrated the under-utilisation of MUST in clinical practice. In response, we proposed additional face-to-face training for existing staff, the inclusion of an e-learning module within the staff’s induction, and provision of ward MUST ‘troubleshooting’ booklets. MUST utilisation rates improved upon re-auditing, but not to target standards. We will need to consider potential barriers to sustainable change and implement interventions such as identification of nursing champions to overcome them.
Keywords: Malnutrition, dietetics, screening, surveys and questionnaires, quality improvement
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Discharge summaries (DCS) are vital in facilitating handover to community colleagues. Unfortunately, at Whittington Health, General Practitioners (GPs) found it difficult to identify relevant information in DCS, and use of medical jargon meant patients did not understand details of their admission. With this quality improvement project, the team aimed to improve DCS to enhance patient-centered care. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this quality improvement project (QIP) was to improve the quality of DCS by critiquing the ones produced within our trust and implementing various interventions. METHODS: Multiple Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles were completed. A multi-disciplinary meeting was…conducted to identify the needs of each party in a DCS. A new template was subsequently launched. Teaching was conducted and educational leaflets were disseminated hospital-wide. Quality of written communication was audited quarterly, and evaluated against quality indicators. Problems with DCS were identified via GP and patient feedback, and these became the focus of subsequent PDSA cycles. RESULTS: From March 2019 to February 2020, all the audited categories improved, with an overall improvement from 67% to 92%. We also received positive feedback from GPs. CONCLUSIONS: Quality of DCS can be improved with appropriate interventions, leading to improved patient care. A similar PDSA cycle could be utilized elsewhere to achieve similar results.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Advance care treatment escalation plans (TEPs) are often lost between healthcare settings, leading to duplication of work and loss of patient autonomy. OBJECTIVE: This quality improvement project reviewed the usage of TEP forms and aimed to improve completeness of documentation and visibility between admissions. METHODS: Over four months we monitored TEP form documentation using a standardised data extraction form. This examined section completion, seniority of documenting clinician and transfer of forms to our hospital electronic patient record (EPRO). We added reminders to computer monitors on wards to improve EPRO upload. RESULTS: Initial data…demonstrated that 95% of patients (n = 230) had a TEP, with 99% of TEPs recording resuscitation status. However, other sections were not well documented (patient capacity 57% completion and personal priorities 45% completion, respectively). Only 11.9% of TEPs documented consultant involvement. Furthermore, only 44% of TEPs with a do not attempt resuscitation (DNACPR) decision were uploaded. Following this, we added reminders to computer monitors explaining how to upload TEP decisions to EPRO, which increased EPRO uploads to 74%. CONCLUSION: Communication of TEPs needs improving across healthcare settings. This project showed that the use of a physical reminder can greatly improve communication of treatment escalation decisions. Furthermore, this intervention has inspired future projects aiming at making communication more sustainable through the use of discharge summaries.
Keywords: Treatment escalation plans, resuscitation, CPR, communication, advanced care planning
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The British Thoracic Society (BTS) Acute Non-Invasive Ventilation (NIV) standards state all patients who require acute NIV should be initiated on NIV within two hours of hospital admission. The delivery of acute NIV is a time critical intervention as prompt application of acute NIV substantially reduces mortality for patients with acute hypercapnic respiratory failure. OBJECTIVE: This audit aimed to assess the number of patients for whom there is a delay in the initiation of acute NIV. We also assessed the outcome of admission for patients started on acute NIV. METHODS: Data was collected on patients…admitted to Kings Mill Hospital for acute NIV between 1/2/2019 and 31/3/2019. Awareness and knowledge of acute NIV was highlighted as an area for improvement. E-learning packages on ‘Acute NIV’ were designed and sent to medical-staff. The audit was repeated for patients admitted for acute NIV between 1/2/2020 and 31/3/2020 and analysed using chi-square tests. RESULTS: 25 patients were included in the initial audit and 30 patients in the re-audit. Prior to intervention 31% of patients had a delay in the initiation of acute NIV, which increased to 77% post-intervention (p < 0.0001). Prior to intervention there was a mortality rate of 17% and a mortality rate of 13% post-intervention (p > 0.05). CONCLUSION: Further work is required to ensure the sustained delivery of acute NIV to BTS standards, however variable achievements in the targets does not seem to have a significant adverse effect on patient outcomes.
Keywords: Acute NIV, non-invasive ventilation, patient care