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Constant Patient Observer – Traineeship ProgramPresenters: Cheyne Chalmers / Lynne Bickerstaff & Vicki DurstonHospital: Southern HealthVicki DurstonEmail: 03 95946161Mobile: 0407531924Acknowledgment: Naomi Dobroff Nursing & Midwifery Strategic Directorate

3 September 2009 - Brisbane

key problem
Key Problem:
  • Southern Health has been providing specialling (one-on-one care) to patients using bank or agency nursing staff as well as agency Health Service assistants.
  • Southern Health identified the need to improve patient care, reduce patient risk, and reduce the costly reliance on agency staff, by implementing CPO role.
  • Southern Health identified the need for a workforce with specific training and skills in providing Constant Patient Observation (providing specialling)
aim of this project
Aim of this Project:

The aim of the project is to implement the Constant patient observer, to reduce the reliance and cost of utilising a Division 1, 2 or HSA to special a patient, through agencies, and to significantly reduce patient risk.

  • This was initially implemented at Monash Medical Centre, Clayton, Dandenong Hospital and Kingston Centre. Once traineeship completed, then to be rolled out into all acute areas requiring observers throughout Southern Health
  • Project of CPO traineeship program to be implemented through July – December 2009
  • Resources received from the federal govt. for a traineeship Australian apprenticeship scheme, Certificate III Health Services Assistance course through Swinburne TAFE Melbourne to fund the project.
key changes implemented
Key Changes Implemented:

Changes already identified include:

  • Shift in culture of nursing staff ( more accepting of a trained Constant Patient Observer, in the first 2 weeks, anecdotally )
  • Position Description and task list to ensure that staff are aware of what an observer can and can’t do is being received positively by nursing staff.
  • Changes that are to be measured include, fall reduction rates, decrease in bank and agency usage for specialling patients, consumer satisfaction ( these results are not available as yet, due to initial phase of the project currently being implemented)
outcomes so far
Outcomes so far:

Currently Southern Health spends an estimated $300,000 + on agency costs for patient specialling. The anticipated savings are estimated at $500,00 pa.

An evaluation on falls reduction is currently under review.

The trainees are currently supernumery, so the effects on cost savings and falls reductions are unable to be measured.

lessons learnt
Lessons Learnt:

Recommendations include:

Engage and influence industrial bodies

Engage and influence current nursing workforce by providing communication, and outline of tasks and Position Description of new role

Clear about the outcomes of implementing a new role

Measure and evaluate progress to engage all stakeholders