Transition Unit improves patient flow
1 September 2023
A new transition unit to improve patient flow between the emergency department and wards at Taranaki Base Hospital has been hailed a resounding success, according to unit nurse manager Jonele Woodhead.
When the hospital’s new renal unit was opened earlier this year, the former renal unit was repurposed into a transition unit to help with admissions from the ED into wards, and discharges from wards back into the community.
The unit has eased pressure on ED beds by creating a five-bed post-ED admission staging area until a ward bed comes free. In turn, to free up ward beds, the unit has five Lay-Z-Boy chairs for patients waiting to be picked up following being discharged from their ward.
Since opening the transition unit on July 17, it has seen 162 admissions and 285 discharges by August 31, says Woodhead.
“There was a clear need to find extra capacity to assist with acute patient flow during the typical winter surge through the ED,” explains Woodhead.
“The transition unit takes pressure off bed capacity in the ED so patients being admitted have a clinical staging point before being transferred to a ward.”
“There will be an Acute Assessment Unit in the New East Wing Building currently under construction as part of the Project Maunga hospital redevelopment programme. When the old renal unit space came free, it was a perfect opportunity to repurpose that space as a transition unit until the new wing is built.”
The unit is currently open 12 hours a day from 9am, Monday to Friday, and is staffed by a roster of eight nurses as well as dedicated administration person, pharmacy technician and a nurse nanager.
On average, the unit is seeing five admissions from the ED a day. With an average patient time of 3.4 hours in the unit, that has saved 17 hours of ED bed-time per day.
When it comes to patient discharges, the Unit is averaging eight discharges a day at an average of 1.4 hours per discharge which is saving approximately 11 hours of ward bed-time per day.
“Another benefit for patients being admitted from ED is that we are able to provide more one-to-one care in an environment that is quieter and calmer than ED,” says Woodhead.
“It’s been such a success, we are now planning to extend the unit to operate seven days a week.”
Last updated: Friday, September 1, 2023