26 July, 2011
Extra funding for better nursing care for patients
Health Minister Tony Ryall has approved an extra $800,000 over two years to help nurses better match the needs of their patients with the staff and resources available.
"Working out when and where health care is likely to be required is challenging for health services," Mr Ryall says.
"Matching patient demand with resources on the day is critical for providing a safe quality environment for patients and staff, and it also makes best use of the health dollar.
"Nurses and other health professionals also need to be able to respond effectively when there are expected or unexpected surges in demand such as winter flu, a peak in birthing or a major car accident."
Mr Ryall says six District Health Boards are already running a programme to better match staff and resources to patients (the Care Capacity Demand Management (CCDM) programme).
"These DHBs are provided 12 months, on site support from a nurse - led group called the Safe Staffing Healthy Workplaces Unit which works with clinicians and other staff to remodel staffing and resources to achieve the best fit.
"Bay of Plenty DHB says an electronic patient acuity tool in the programme tells them at any one time how sick each patient is and how much nursing care that patient requires.
"That means they regularly move ED nurses across to help out in busier acute wards when the ED is quiet – and back again when the emergency department picks up.
"DHBs are finding they are significantly more able to respond quickly and appropriately to changing demands."
The CCDM programme fits in with and adds value to other DHB innovations - like the Productive Ward – which are aimed at ensuring that care is well organised and well run.
There are plans for three more DHBs to take up the CCDM programme in this financial year and the extra Government funding will enable a further six to participate over the next two years.