ActNow, an e-learning tool has been launched by Health Education England and NHS England which will help health service staff prevent hospital delays for patients.
Each year nearly 350,000 patients spend more than 3 weeks in acute hospitals. Most of these people are older and often frail, and although treatment in hospital for a short period of time is necessary, longer stays can make them susceptible to deconditioning or infections.
Prolonged hospital stays can cause muscle aging in 1 in 3 70-year-olds, which can affect their mobility permanently and make tasks they could perform previously more difficult to do.
As part of the NHS Long Term Plan, action has been taken to help thousands of people avoid lengthy stays in hospitals. NHS nurses, doctors and are staff are being encouraged to make informed decisions about when patients can leave after recovery from illnesses or operations. The campaign is called “Where Best Next?” and aims to help around 140,000 people annually to avoid 3 weeks in hospital or more unnecessary hospital stays.
The new resources that are being provided will help staff to implement practical actions and use every opportunity available to ensure patients are looked after in the best place for them. The resources will help by teaching the use of new technology, caring for people at home and effective early discharge from hospital. The online course that can be completed by staff will be an added benefit as they can use it as evidence of ongoing learning and professional development.
Hilary Garratt, Deputy Chief Nursing Officer for England said: “We want to ensure that all patients benefit from the shortest possible stay on a ward, getting home as soon as they are fit to leave with the support they need.
“Not only is that better for them, reducing the risk of infection or loss of mobility for older people in particular, but it also means that more beds are available for others who need care too, easing pressure on A&E and other parts of the system.
“This new ActNow resource will help nursing and care teams in the vital role they play throughout a patient’s journey, and are ideal to include as part of team training or for professional development plans for nurses at every level, including our non-registered colleagues.”