When Ladysmith residents Ian Hardy and Rick Seaton arrive at the new medical daycare unit at the Ladysmith Community Health Centre for their medical appointments, they are greeted by a nurse who will administer intravenous treatments to both men. Hardy and Seaton settle comfortably in oversized recliners purchased by the Ladysmith Healthcare Auxiliary and patiently wait for their treatments to begin while making small talk with one another.
It is a very different experience from previous ones where they and other patients requiring non-urgent treatments such as phlebotomies, blood and iron infusions, and IV antibiotics presented at the centre’s busy urgent care department. At urgent care, they waited for an appointment, sometimes being diverted to Duncan or Nanaimo if other patients presented with conditions that required more immediate attention.
“We knew that diverting non-urgent patients was becoming very difficult for our urgent care teams, so my colleague Kristen Grovum and I decided to look for a solution through a quality improvement pilot project,” explains Faye Hjort, Ladysmith Medical Daycare Project Lead. “The bulk of the project took existing ambulatory patients in urgent care and moved them over to a dedicated room down the hall where we assigned a nurse to administer their treatments.”
Prior to the changes, staff typically provided non-urgent medical treatments to two patients per day in the urgent care department. With the addition of the dedicated room, up to 12 patients receive treatments each day in medical daycare. Within a few months, the pilot project became a permanent solution as it soon become clear the initiative was greatly benefiting both patients and staff.
“It’s decreased our work load in urgent care, allowing us to see urgent care patients faster,” says Carol Goguen, RN, Ladysmith Community Health Centre. “It’s also improved patient satisfaction because they know they can book a specific time for their procedures.”
Patient feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Anyone seeking urgent care can go to the clinic, but if they have an appointment for a procedure at the medical daycare, they can plan their day accordingly,” says patient Ian Hardy. “It’s a lot better than waiting in line.”
Fellow patient Rick Seaton agrees, saying the addition of the medical daycare room is far more convenient than driving to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital or Cowichan District Hospital for treatment.
“It’s a great idea, a big time savings and an efficient use of public funds,” he says.
In addition to building capacity in the Ladysmith urgent care department, the dedicated medical daycare room is ensuring that Ladysmith patients can receive the care they need, close to home.
“We never want to divert patients to Duncan or Nanaimo. We want to take care of our patients right here in Ladysmith if we have the capacity to provide safe, quality care in-house,” says Sarah Westgate, Leader, North Cowichan Community Health Services. “It also builds our community here at the health centre. We see familiar faces and we get to know one another.”
“It’s also decreasing pressures on Island Health facilities in Duncan and Nanaimo because our patients no longer have to present there for non-urgent medical treatments,” Faye Hjort “Knowing that so many are benefiting from this project is a fabulous feeling.”
About Island Health:
Island Health provides health care and support services to more than 800,000 people on Vancouver Island, the islands in the Salish Sea and the Johnstone Strait, and mainland communities north of Powell River. With more than 22,000 staff and over 2,000 physician partners, 6,000 volunteers, and the dedicated support of foundations and auxiliaries, Island Health delivers a broad range of health services, including: Public health services, primary health care, home and community care, mental health and addictions services, acute care in hospitals, and much more across a huge, geographically diverse region.
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