Timed visits improve patient care

Written by Fiona O'Dowd.
Published at 12:30 on 3 February 2015.
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In what is thought to be a first for Scotland, patients across Lanarkshire, who are cared for by the community nursing team, are being provided with scheduled home appointments. 

The move sees patients being offered a two hour time slot of when they should expect a visit from a nurse. 

The set time slot allows patients to know when to expect their nursing visit and allow them to plan the rest of their day. 

Jean Donaldson, senior nurse for the primary care south west unit, said: “The team wanted to consider what developments we could implement to make our service more patient centred. One of the nurses suggested the introduction of timed visits. 

“For most services you will be given a time slot. For example, you always know when the gas man is coming or when the supermarket is delivering your shopping. So, we thought it important that our patients were given a time slot for when they should expect our visit. 

“The new arrangement involves the nurses calling patients the day before their expected visit to make sure that the planned time would suit them.

“The telephone call only takes five minutes; however it makes a massive difference to the patient’s day and the quality of their care. It has also reduced the number of visits where a nurse would arrive at an inconvenient time for the patient.” 

Feedback includes patients who say that their family has been able to be present during their visits by the community nurse and that it has given them peace of mind knowing when the nurse will visit. 

Patients have also said that the timed visit allows them to structure their day and know what they have time to do before the nurse arrives.

May McCallum from East Kilbride has been receiving timed visits from the community nursing team. 

Her husband Ronald said: “The timed visits made a difference because the nurses come in when it suits May, after the carers have showered her. This means that May is not lying all day without a dressing on.”

The project was initiated in East Kilbride Locality and has now been spread to the remainder of South Lanarkshire and is now beginning in North Lanarkshire.
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