Nurse-led innovation cuts staff exposure to COVID-19 patients

Streamlined assessments help reduce anxiety over infection risk and inadequate PPE

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Streamlining patient assessments has helped one hospital reduce the risk of staff contracting COVID-19.

Patients in the COVID-19 ward at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester are having their routine hospital assessments carried out by a single health professional.

Assessment system reduces staff contact with COVID-19 patients

This contrasts with the old system, which saw nurses, healthcare assistants and doctors entering the ward and carrying out their own individual assessments at different times.

Under the new nurse-led project, any healthcare worker who enters the ward will:

  • Bring in meals and take away uneaten food.
  • Check patients’ position and comfort.
  • Take basic observations.
  • Ask the patient questions about their condition.
  • Record all observations and answers, including the National Early Warning Score (NEWS) chart.
  • Report that the patient has been seen.

If the outcome of the assessment indicates a patient needs a follow-up from another member of staff, this will then take place separately.

Unnecessary face-to-face contact with patients has been reduced

Staff are also using phones and radios to reduce unnecessary face-to-face contact between patients and staff.

Sam Shaw: new system has helped 
with staff anxiety over PPE supplies

Ward sister and charge nurse Sam Shaw, who helped develop the process, said it was introduced because staff were worried about their exposure to the virus.   

‘There was a lot of anxiety about a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE),’ she said.

‘Everybody has really embraced it. They can see how it works to reduce their exposure to the virus. It’s starting to spread out through the hospital.’

Nurse-led system has allowed staff to rest and reflect

Ms Shaw said the new way of working could continue after the pandemic, adding that the new system has freed up time for staff to rest.

‘It’s given us time to sit down with each other and reflect and try to build on what we are already doing and making more progress.’

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