The Emergency Assessment Bay has now been operational for almost three years and is one of a kind as a facility to accommodate emergency care and treatment for haemato-oncological patients within an Acute Trust.
Prior to the facility opening there was uncertainty about how the models of care and patient pathways would work and how the service would be received both by patients and the wider healthcare economy.
The model has exceeded all expectations with positive feedback from patients, carers and healthcare professionals accessing the facility. The Directorate is committed to reviewing systems processes and, where required, revising constantly staffing models and resource requirements. The use of the 24-hour Telephone Assessment Tool has enabled appropriate triaging of patients to ensure that safe, effective and appropriate clinical care and/or advice is given, and defined clinical pathways ensure on-going relevance to patient management.
The sustainability of the service is demonstrated through an on-going audit, as seen in the Directorate’s End of Year report (see Resources). Data support the use of the Emergency Assessment Bay with a continuing increase in activity since the facility opened.
Appropriate intervention and treatment of oncological and haematological emergencies, which can be of a life threatening nature, is imperative in ensuring positive outcomes in terms of disease management and prognosis.
An Emergency Assessment Bay (EAB), with specialist nursing care and dedicated medical cover 24/7, was introduced following the opening of the new Cancer Centre. Its purpose is to provide oncology and haematology patients with access to more appropriate and timely care in an environment where they would reap the benefits of an efficient patient flow – while also reducing the number of patients attending the busy A&E Department.
In addition to improving the patient experience, it was hoped that the overall quality of care would improve through:
- Timely and appropriate intervention,
- Early diagnostics and implementation of treatment,
- Reducing in risk by patients being appropriately managed by specialist teams,
- Avoiding inappropriate admissions with the potential for reduction in length of stay.
This was an innovative approach to managing patients requiring specialist input within an acute care setting, where pressures such as bed management, emergency flow and patient outcomes needed to be addressed.
These were set to:
- Ensure timely and effective management of haemato-oncological emergencies by providing direct access to the Cancer Centre
- Act in accordance with national directives to provide urgent specialist treatment to patients receiving systemic anti-cancer treatment
- Manage effectively bed pressures thereby reducing pressure on emergency portals
- Improve the patient care pathway and access to an expert workforce positively affecting patient experience
- Improve patient outcome associated with emergency management of oncology/haematology emergencies.
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