There really is no place like home. This is especially true when you or a loved one isn’t feeling well. You want to be close to what’s familiar and those who support you. Last fall, we implemented new processes to identify patients from outside of Saskatoon earlier, and help our patients from across the province get closer to home by transferring them to their home hospital, or closer to their home hospital, as soon as they were medically stable.
While a transfer to home hospital for a patient may seem straight-forward, until the new processes were recently put in place, it was challenging. “We didn’t even have an easy way to identify patients from outside of Saskatoon,” explains Bryan Witt, Director of Adult Medicine and Critical Care and rural repatriation lead. “As a tertiary care centre for the province, we get patients from all over our Region and from all corners of Saskatchewan needing specialized care.”
The first step was to find a way to make patients that live outside of Saskatoon visible within our admission system. “We now create a daily report of admitted medicine patients based on their home postal code,” says Witt. “By identifying the patient as from a community outside Saskatoon, it makes a transfer to home hospital part of their discharge plan right from the beginning of their treatment and care. We can then work with the patient, their family and their home hospital to ensure everyone is part of that plan.”
The process is working well and some patients, where capacity and care needs match, are receiving transfers to hospitals closer to home earlier in their recovery.
“Everyone wins when a transfer is successful,” says Witt. “The patient is closer to their home and the local hospitals are more involved in the care process right from the start and know what and when to expect a patient so they can get all the care requirements, from pharmaceutical to therapies, lined up ahead of time.”
The Region is currently working with surgical unit managers to duplicate the processes for surgical patients, which is expected to begin within the next few months.
“We are eager to see these processes expanded for all patients,” says Diane Shendruk, Vice President of Integrated Health Services. “Hospital stays are often stressful and difficult for patients and their families. But being close to home, family and support can make a big difference.”