New approach to care is helping save lives

When Banff Mineral Springs Clinical Lead Lori Thorburn introduced her colleagues to Path to Home, a new way for nurses on the Acute Care unit to share patient information during shift changes, she had no idea how quickly she would see the impact on patients.

Under the old system, shift changes would happen in the staff room with the oncoming nurse listening to a tape-recorded report. With the new system, shift changes happen beside the patient’s bed with the patients involved as much as they want.

RN Johanne Levac (left) and Clinical Lead Lori Thorburn perform a bedside shift change.

“I feel better about the information that I’m giving at the bedside to the oncoming nurse,” says Lori. “I leave here feeling like I’ve done a better job because I’ve been able to give that report.”

During a bedside shift change one morning, Johanne Levac, a Registered Nurse (RN), noticed that a patient was showing symptoms of a stroke. She and the other nurse quickly took action, calling the doctor on shift and getting the patient ready for transport to Calgary for specialized treatment.

Time is essential when dealing with stroke cases. When symptoms start to show, staff need to react within the first hour to give patients the best chance of survival.

“At that moment, I was very thankful for the change in reporting,” says Johanne. “We were in the patient’s room right at 7 a.m. and were able to assess them and see that their condition was in the process of deteriorating.”

Lori says without this program, the nurses may have not seen that patient for at least 20 minutes. “With the Path to Home program, it gets us to the patient’s bedside sooner and helps reduce those sentinel events.”

Path to Home was started in Banff in early 2016.

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