Teams throughout LG Health have implemented various strategies to help meet the growing needs of patients visiting the Emergency Department. Some of these changes include increasing access through Urgent Care facilities, expanding primary care provider hours and adding the ED annex. Within Lancaster General Hospital, teams are working together to decrease wait times.
In July 2018, a group of 20 clinicians launched LGH’s first Admission Transition Unit. The newly created unit was developed to support the increasing Emergency Department demand and provide an improved patient experience.
Located on 2 West-Medical Outpatient Unit, the ATU consists of five patient care-pods, providing care for up to four patients each. Each pod has an assigned nurse and patient care assistant, who administer the appropriate admissions paperwork and testing prior to the patient’s admission to an inpatient unit.
“Our team’s goal is to decrease the amount of time a patient has to wait for an inpatient bed in the ED. We know that this not only helps our colleagues save time, but it also allows the patient to begin their road to recovery sooner because we are able to meet their needs while their bed is being prepared,” explained Brandy Grant, nurse manager.
Shortly after launching the unit, the team began to utilize rapid cycle experiments with the help of Performance Improvement. These experiences helped the team identify the best way to effectively serve patients and their inpatient, ancillary team and ED colleagues.
“Our team was heavily engaged in developing the way our unit operates today. We have refined our goals to address two areas within our unit: moving patients from the ED to ATU in 20 minutes or less, 60 percent of the time, and transporting patients from the ATU to an inpatient unit within 30 minutes of assignment, at least 50 percent of time,” said Grant.
The ATU helped admit more than 3,563 patients during fiscal year 2019, and continues to look for ways to improve the patient experience.