November 17, 2017

RVH & SFMH/Health Link 9 adopt new tool to help patients better manage after discharge from hospital

When to take your medication. What symptoms to be concerned about. When to see your doctor next. Being discharged from hospital can be stressful.

Recently the Office of the Patient Ombudsman released its first annual report to the public. Of the 550 written complaints that the Office received last year – one of the top two complaints by patients was concerns over their discharge process.

Patient Oriented Discharge Summary (PODS) is a new and proven tool to help patients better manage their post-hospital care and it is alleviating some of that stress for patients and their caregivers.

St. Francis Memorial Hospital in Barry’s Bay went live with the initiative in October and Renfrew Victoria Hospital will launch the program in the new year.

The PODS project was selected for funding by the Adopting Research to Improve Care (Arctic) Program. Funds were received through this initiative for the clinical teams to work with patients and families to implement this initiative.

Chris Ferguson, RVH Vice President of Patient Care Services and PODS project lead, notes that this work aligns perfectly with the work all organizations have been doing related to patient and family centred care to improve the patient experience including the discharge process. Hospital admissions can be stressful and it is important patients get information to ensure a safe seamless transition back home.

“The project started with a pre-implementation survey with discharged patients and families to determine how the discharge process could be improved,” says Ferguson. “That information has been used to further refine this tool to meet the needs of our patients. The Patient Oriented Discharge Summary (PODS) was also reviewed at the Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) to ensure this will make a difference for the patients been discharged from our organizations.”

Co-developed by University Health Network’s OpenLab, patients and health care providers, PODS applies best practices in design and adult learning. It provides patients with a set of clear and easy-to-understand instructions upon discharge, helping make their transition home go as smoothly as possible and improve patient adherence to post-hospital care plans.

It also offers an individualized and tailored discharge process for each patient. This unique approach increases patients’ confidence in their ability to care for themselves once home.

An official launch for the adoption of PODS by 27 hospitals across Ontario will take place on November 27, 2017, at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.

Fast facts:

  • A report by the province’s Avoidable Hospitalization Expert Panel found communication of discharge instructions by hospitals was often poor because patients did not understand medical terms, were not fluent in English, were not able to memorize instructions or were too stressed at the time of discharge to absorb information.
  • The PODS tool highlights five important issues for patients leaving hospital:
    1. Medications they need to take
    2. How they might feel and what to do
    3. Changes to their routine
    4. Appointments they have to go to
    5. Where to go for more information
  • A 2015 patient satisfaction survey from the first eight hospitals where PODS was implemented show patient satisfaction scores about their discharge experience increased between 9.3% and 19.4% after PODS was adopted.
  • PODS has spread to and is being adopted by 27 hospitals across Ontario with support from ARTIC (Adopting Research to Improve Care), a joint program of the Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario and Health Quality Ontario.
  • While 50,000 patients will benefit from PODS in its first year, far more will benefit as this becomes a new model of care in the future.

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For more information, please contact:
Chris Ferguson, VP Patient Care Services,
Renfrew Victoria Hospital
613-432-4851, ext. 225

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