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Productive Ward: An international affair

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Not content with tranforming care through the Productive Ward programme in her own hospital, Suzanne Turner hosted a group of Belgian delegates hoping to export the winning formula

We have recently had a group of visitors from Belgium at the Hospital, they are thinking about implementing the Productive Ward (PW) programme across there, but wanted to see some of the areas that had implemented it first, before committing themselves to the programme. I can’t say I blame them.

When you get your first look at the PW paperwork it can seem a bit daunting, and also very extensive. It is – but it’s also manageable when it’s broken down into its modules. So to have the presentation and see the documentation – it doesn’t always seem to make a lot of sense. How can the information in those booklets really make a difference in the ‘real world’?

Anyway – back to the visit. I was asked if I’d mind showing a ‘couple’ of visitors around the ward. A ‘couple’ to me has always been two….apparently not. The ‘couple’ of visitors that arrived actually totalled 7(ish), plus the leads for PW within our trust.

The thing that made this so worthwhile for me was the positivity of the ‘spiel’ I was giving to the visitors. I caught myself thinking about the difference PW has made to both our patient and staffs experience within Bramley Ward.

Sometimes it can seem that we’re so busy trying different things – and changing things that don’t work – it becomes another paper exercise. When I was looking at ‘how to write a blog’, I searched for PW blogs and came across one that (to put it mildly) was a little anti-PW. Written by a doctor (so it said), it slated the PW as being just that – another paper exercise.

BUT – the thing with PW is that YOU make the decisions about what works best for YOUR area. It is a very individual thing, based upon a set of common goals and an expectation of high quality, safe nursing care provision. It can be adapted for YOUR area, obviously underlying structures cannot be changed to accommodate every individual area within a hospital, BUT, the common requirements can be catered for. For example; linen ordering - at the moment, who decides in your area what stock of linen you carry? Who sets your stock levels? When were your levels last reviewed? How much stock have you got in your linen trolley/ room etcetera? How much extra stock have you got?

Within our trust now we are only expected to carry (as routine) one week’s worth of any stock. Linen services have been involved with this PW process and we no longer receive 300 sheets, twice a week for a 20-bedded area!

How many times have we wanted to make changes to our stock levels, storage facilities etc, but never actually have been able to make them ‘stick’. The classic being – how many different areas do you have to visit to collect all the equipment you need to start an IV infusion? Why isn’t it all stored together?

Who orders stock when supplies are running low – and how do they order it? Who do they have to contact? Where is that phone book???

PW + Nurses = common sense. Simples!

BTW – the Belgium visitors were very impressed!

Luckily my staff are used to being under a certain amount of scrutiny – so they did their best to carry on with their work whilst I dealt with the invasion. We started at our ‘performance board’. Now, providing the feedback from our performance board is usually pretty run of the mill for the vast majority of it – until we get to our sickness levels. (This is one of the ‘hills’ we’ve had to climb!) It does become quite entertaining when we look at our sickness levels, when I started on the ward 18 months ago; the average weekly sickness rate was 30 – 35%. Yes – no typo. Our aimed levels are 3.5 – 4.5%

At it’s worst (last Christmas); our sickness levels peaked at nearly 50%. Now the graph that accompanies this piece of information does actually resemble the Alps (see below), but I am very pleased to report that for the last 6 months our levels have been much lower – at one point it was zero! (Although only for 1 week). We are currently averaging 5 – 10%, not perfect – but much, much better.

One of the best things of having all this information displayed is that the staff can see the effects this has on our overall safety performance, staff satisfaction and untoward incident occurrences within our area. It is specific information to us – and very real. It’s not just about performance – it makes it a real experience for the staff.

The other great bonus from this board is the fact that our patients like to have a look at it too! And they like to ask questions. Our patient base is that of individuals with a long-term condition, many of whom have had multiple experiences of in-patient stays within Bramley Ward. The information that this board provides for them is helping to address some of their less positive experiences from the past and helps to show them what we are trying to achieve – and ultimately, how close to achieving and maintaining certain things we are.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • "One of the best things of having all this information displayed is that the staff can see the effects this has on our overall safety performance, staff satisfaction and untoward incident occurrences within our area."

    Most of this is the common sense we have been saying for years, BUT in this part of the article it appears to be saying that being ill is not allowed.

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