Success spurs growing pains

A new temporary ward in Dunedin Hospital for older people has been performing well, but has created an unforeseen problem, a report before the Southern District Health Board commissioners meeting tomorrow says.

Shorter stays in the ward have meant more patients are being treated - but it has also meant early discharge and rehabilitation services have had double the referrals over the past six weeks.

"They are currently unable to meet this demand, with particular pressure within physiotherapy and nursing and to a smaller extent occupational therapy,'' the report said.

Additional groups had been set up, and staff were working to ensure patients were well along the road to rehabilitation before discharge.

Discussions with the ward physiotherapist, occupational therapist and charge nurse manager had also resulted in changes to some procedures to address demand.

Despite those issues and the fact there had been a reduction in the bed numbers due to space constraints, the temporary ward was regarded as working well, the report said.

"From a patient and system perspective, the changes have been positive with a significant reduction in length of stay . . . and also an increase in the number of inpatients in the month.''


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