December 12, 2017

Co-ordinated Team Approach Catches On in Saskatchewan Hospitals

More Accountable Care Units are Serving Patients in Regina and Saskatoon

Patients with complex care needs are receiving more timely and effective care as the number of innovative Accountable Care Units in Regina and Saskatoon continues to grow.

When unit 3D at Regina’s Pasqua Hospital begins the transition in December, it will be the fifth Accountable Care Unit (ACU) in the province.  Preparations are also underway in Saskatoon to add to more units early in the new year.  Thanks to more consistent, co-ordinated processes and communication, patients have a better care experience, are returning home from hospital sooner, and the work environment is more fulfilling for health care providers.

Following the launch in April of the ACU on 7th Medicine, St. Paul’s Hospital, Saskatoon, the  data shows that the length of stay for the unit is currently 12.2 per cent below the previous average.   In Regina, there was a 15 per cent decrease in length of stay reported on the pilot ACU on Unit 4A at the Pasqua Hospital.  In the Medical Surveillance Unit at the Pasqua, 105 per cent more patients received specialized care following its launch.

“By expanding the number of accountable care units in Saskatchewan, we are making good progress toward our goal of helping patients come home from a hospital stay sooner, healthier, and with less chance of a return visit,” Health Minister Jim Reiter said.  “These units are part of our Connected Care Strategy, to transform the health system and improve the way care is delivered for patients who have complex care needs.”

The changes in care are part of the health system’s effort to reduce hospital congestion, thereby shortening emergency department wait times and improving timely access to health care for patients.

“We are proud to have opened the first Accountable Care Unit in Canada and to have laid the groundwork for implementing this model of care throughout the province,” Saskatchewan Health Authority’s Executive Transition Lead, Physician and Integrated Health Services Dr. David McCutcheon said.  “Accountable Care has transformed how we communicate with patients and with each other.  We’re seeing improvements in quality every day.  Patients and their families are delighted as they are much better informed about their care and staff say their work is much more rewarding.”

After the first unit showed good results, two more units were established in Regina with another coming in December.  The pioneering work spread to Saskatoon, where a unit was launched in April 2017 and preparations are underway to add two more early in the new year.

“Strategic investments in our interdisciplinary team in the Accountable Care Unit have been one key element to early successes at St. Paul’s Hospital 7th Medicine,” Saskatchewan Health Authority’s Director of Pharmacy for Saskatoon Patrick Robertson said.  “For example, the addition of dedicated pharmacists to the team has resulted in every patient now receiving additional medication management support throughout their hospital stay, and ensures every patient has a review of their medications at discharge, facilitating a safe transition to their home or alternative care setting.”

In Accountable Care Units, the physician and other members of the care team meet with every patient and their family members each day to discuss plans for care in the hospital and discharge back to the community.

Planning is also under way on improvements in community-based services, to ensure co-ordinated care for patients with complex needs who may need to transition from the community to the hospital and back again.