Physiotherapy team cuts hospital admissions

Monday 15th October 2018
A smartly redeployed team of physiotherapists and occupational therapists has managed to reduce costly overnight stays at a hospital in Salford.
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A team of physiotherapists has managed to reduce the number of overnight stays at a hard-pressed hospital by five per cent, simply through working more efficiently and innovatively. 

The in-reach team at Salford Royal NHS Trust’s emergency department has managed to bring about the reduction since starting their work in September 2017. The team of three physiotherapists, three occupational therapists and an assistant practitioner were brought in to reduce the pressure on the emergency department, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy reports. 

Among the ways the physios helped reduce overnight stays was a change in working patterns. This meant they started operating 12-hour shifts that began at 08:00 each day. As a result, they covered the busiest period for the emergency department, which is between 16:00 and 20:00.

Moreover, the different specialists worked across boundaries into each other's disciplines to make assessments. It can complete these and also make judgements on the home and care needs for patients on the same day by having everyone qualified to make decisions in the same place at the same time, thus speeding up the process.

In the first ten months of working the team saw 420 patients. After therapy assessments, 78 per cent of patients were either discharged or sent to a place of care, instead of being kept in overnight. It is estimated the reduction in stays has saved the trust around £100,000.

Physiotherapist Jennifer Rothbury, one of the team leads in the project, said: "This is the type of innovation the NHS needs to drive up efficiency and save money."

She joined fellow team lead Amy McGarry in receiving a poster highlighting the team's achievements at the Society of Acute Medicine conference in Bournemouth last month. 

Emergency consultant at the hospital Darren Geen gave a presentation on the work of the in-reach team at the event. 

Salford Royal was given an 'outstanding' rating by the Quality Care Commission in August this year, although it did say improvements were needed in emergency services. 

The report praised the way the hospital deployed its resources. 

Written by Matthew Horton

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