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Rapid access to specialist care can make all the difference

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When patients with respiratory problems experience acute exacerbations, this can lead to unplanned admissions to hospita

If they are admitted to a general ward they may have little or no access to specialist care, potentially delaying their recovery and increasing their length of stay.

Our innovation reports on the development of a rapid-access respiratory team for patients presenting in the emergency department with acute problems. The team achieved up to a 10% reduction in admissions and reduced the average length of stay. Early success led to the rapid-access team expanding to offer a seven-day service.

Unplanned admissions can make it difficult to admit patients with long-term conditions to specialist settings, but outreach services can ensure these patients still receive the care they need. This makes more effective use of scarce resources, but more importantly, improves the care patients receive. The model could be replicated for other conditions requiring specialist care.

Ann Shuttleworth is practice and learning editor of Nursing Times Twitter @AnnNursingTimes

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