“When am I going home?”

That’s a question almost every acute care patient asks at some point during their hospital stay.

However, data collected during Saskatoon Health Region’s Better Every Day 14 Day Challenge has shown that 76 per cent of patients are unaware of their date of discharge or transition from acute care the day they are discharged.

an electronic form

Predicted Transition Date (PTD) is now determined at the time of admission and provided to the patient’s care team through the use of this electronic form.

Care providers often struggle with estimating a date of transition because every patient’s recovery journey can be different. However, thanks to a new admission process developed by Team Four, headed by Sandra Blevins and Dr. George Pylypchuk, this Predicted Transition Date (PTD) is determined at the time of admission and provided to the patient’s care team.

The team is currently determining how the electronic patient flow system and patient charts will be populated with the PTD, how it will be used in planning and how it will be communicated with the patient and care team. PTD is also being updated as the team receives feedback from the physicians and Acute Care Access Services (ACAS) team.

This PTD is not meant to push a patient out the door – quite the opposite.

“A PTD is designed to be a communication and care planning tool. It should be based on the care team’s plan and the patient’s progression of care. It will be reviewed daily, adjusted as necessary and communicated to the care team and patient,” explained Sandra Blevins. “But it gives the patient something to strive for, and helps them plan what they need to have in place after they go home or to their home hospital, like someone to drive them or other additional supports. We also feel it helps them be more involved in their care.”

From the care perspective, having a PTD on a patient’s chart gives all care providers a target to aim for, and allows them to make sure all the plans and follow-on care that need to get checked to ensure that a patient is ready for transition are complete by the indicated date.

“It means no last-minute scrambling for tests, consultations, specialized equipment, medication, transportation or arrangements for follow-on care in the community,” said Blevins.

And finally, PTDs mean system-wide patient flow planning is possible. It means all those departments facilitating patient flow will be able to know, days in advance, of possible capacity concerns or slow-down periods. Everything, from staff allocation to maintenance shut-downs, could be better planned to maximize efficiencies.

“When the predicted transition date is planned and communicated, we can all work together and make it better for our patients,” Blevins summarized.

The Region’s first Better Every Day 14 Day Challenge question of the day concerns the PTD:

“When you get admitted to hospital, how soon do you want to know the date your care team expects you to be ready to leave hospital?”

 As of 4 p.m. on February 11, the responses were as follows:

– The day I arrive or am admitted: 42.1%

– At least two to three days before: 51.6%

– The same day I leave: 6.3%

For more daily polls, news and stories about the Better Every Day 14 Day Challenge, visit saskatoonhealthregion.ca/news.