New program ensures patients are ready for surgery

Three female Rockingham General Hospital nurses standing in a garden
Staff Development Nurse Gemma Sampson, Nurse Unit Manager Sue Harris and Clinical Nurse Clair McKeown from the PRIOR implementation team
February 15, 2018

Rockingham General Hospital’s (RGH) Day Procedure Unit has developed a simple solution to ensure patients are better prepared for their elective surgery and to reduce avoidable cancellations.

The project, named PRIOR, was developed by Nurse Unit Manager Sue Harris and Clinical Nurse Clair McKeown following what they believed was a pattern of preventable issues patients were presenting with on the day of their surgery, often causing the surgery to be cancelled.

The PRIOR, pre-operative intervention and problem resolving tool, is a checklist which is done by the shift coordinator the day before a patient’s scheduled surgery.

“The checklist is completed with a phone call to the first patient on each theatre list to identify any uncertainty they might have, such as medication withdrawal or confusion with fasting times,” Clair explained.

An initial audit of the program looked at 73 cases where surgery had been cancelled or delayed and noted 13 instances when medical, blood and fasting issues could have been minimised with a quick phone call.

Clair said the system was enhancing the overall patient experience.

“Ensuring our patients have the most seamless experience, at such a stressful time, really makes a difference,” she said.

“A simple phone call allows them the opportunity to ask questions and ease any concerns, while we benefit from ensuring the patient will present being prepared for their surgery.”