Safety and quality improvements enhancing care

A program to prevent at-risk patients from experiencing falls while in hospital, a trial to lower bloodstream infections caused by intravenous catheters and staff-designed workbooks for SA prisoners to combat depression and anxiety are among a number of safety and quality improvements recently implemented across the Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN).

These measures strengthen the network’s safety and quality systems and ensure Central Adelaide patients receive safe, effective, and connected care.

Many of these initiatives are detailed in CALHN’s World-class care snapshot, to inform patients and the community about how the network’s dedicated and skilled staff utilised opportunities to deliver organisation-wide improvements, between July 2020 and December 2021.

CALHN plays an important role in the delivery of services to the South Australian community as the largest health network in the state and includes the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH), The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (TQEH), Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre, SA Pathology and SA Dental.

It services a population of more than 470,000 in the Adelaide central metropolitan area, about 27% of the total SA population, and each year provides care for about 215,000 inpatients, 860,000 outpatients and 210,000 emergency department visitors.

CALHN Clinical Governance Executive Director Associate Professor, Kathryn Zeitz, said the organisation’s efforts to embed robust safety and quality systems was recognised in September 2021, when CALHN participated in an organisation-wide accreditation survey.

All public and private hospital providers are regularly accredited against eight national safety and quality standards, which aim to protect the public from harm and to improve the quality of health service provision.

“One of the most significant achievements during this period was CALHN’s successful accreditation survey performance, resulting in the network being accredited for a further three years,” A/Prof Zeitz said.

Quality improvement activities were essential to improving the delivery of patient care, with the network recognising that small changes could have a large impact on the outcome and experience for a consumer, A/Prof Zeitz said.

Other safety and quality achievements outlined in the snapshot include:

  • More than 90% of 392 RAH and TQEH patients reported feeling confident in their treatment and care when surveyed by SA Health two months after discharge between July and September 2021
  • CALHN’s new online CARE.IQ audit platform is collecting data to assess what is happening across wards, clinical programs and services and supporting the implementation of improvement strategies and monitoring how they are working
  • The inaugural World-class Care Showcase and Award event, held in March 2021, enabled CALHN staff to share their improvement work within the organisation and with consumer representatives
  • CALHN refreshed its discharge summaries to incorporate feedback received from GP’s on the quality of content included in the summaries, with a post-implementation review showing the template had improved the quality of documentation.

A/Prof Zeitz said the snapshot captured improvements introduced during a busy period during CALHN’s role as the frontline of SA’s COVID-19 response.

“Our workforce and the network have stepped up to these challenges experienced during the pandemic and have taken advantage of the opportunity to improve the way we deliver our services to ensure the best consumer experience in this dynamic environment,” she said.