Central West and Wales UKONS members have developed, designed and piloted the UKONS Oncology/Haematology ‘24 Hour Triage, Rapid Assessment and Access Tool Kit’.
It is a risk assessment tool that, if used correctly, standardises and supports excellent practice, improving quality and safety and providing evidence of service provision. The tool provides a robust framework for triage assessment, action and audit, and as a result leads to improved quality and safety in patient care by:
- Ensuring patients receive a robust, reliable assessment every time they contact a helpline for advice
- Ensuring assessments are of a consistently high quality by the use an evidence-based assessment tool
- Advising on action and advice that is appropriate to the patients ‘level of risk’
- Ensuring patients who require urgent assessment in an acute area are identified and that action is taken, but also
- Identifing and reassuring those who are at lower risk and may safely be managed by the primary care team or a planned clinical review and avoid unnecessary attendance
- Providing a framework for triage training and competency assessment for practitioners.
Feedback assured us that with regular use the whole assessment process improves in terms of quality, structure and time taken.
The development process has been methodical, professional and democratic and is an excellent example of team work. The aims and objectives of the project were clearly agreed and with the completion of the pilot and evaluation have been achieved.
The tool kit has been piloted successfully in 35 hospital trusts in the UK and is now being used widely across the UK. There have been no reports of adverse events or clinical incidents linked to the tool during the pilot period or since.
The groups primary aim was to develop NATIONAL triage guidelines in the form of a tool kit.
The Tool Kit should be used by all members of staff who may be required to man 24 hour HELPLINES for adult patients who have:
- received chemotherapy /systemic anti-cancer therapy
- received any other type of anti-cancer treatment including Radiotherapy
- disease/treatment related immunosuppression (i.e. acute leukaemia, corticosteroids )
The tool kit should provide:
- Guidance and support to the practitioner at all stages of the triage process
- A simple but reliable evidence based assessment process
- Safe and understandable advice
- Communication and record keeping
- Competency based training
- An audit tool.
The tool kit should:
- improve patient safety and care by ensuring that they receive a robust, reliable assessment every time they contact a helpline for advice.
- ensure that the assessments are of a consistent quality and use an evidence based assessment tool.
- ensure that the management and advice is appropriate to the patients’ level of risk. To ensure that those patients who require urgent assessment in an acute area are identified and that action is taken, but also to identify and reassure those patients who are at lower risk and may safely be managed by the primary care team or a planned clinical review and avoid unnecessary attendance.
- form the basis of triage training and competency assessment for practitioners.
- provide a record /evidence of helpline contact for review when managing treatment plans
- provide data for audit of quality and activity
We aimed to develop a generic tool that could be understood and used by the multi-disciplinary team caring for the patient and become a standard method of assessing, describing and recording the helpline process, a common process that would allow communication and training to cross trust, network and national boundaries.
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