The days of convalescing in hospital for long periods until the patient feels 100 per cent better are decades past.
Medical professionals determined that recovering at home is a better option and next month, hospital patients in Kamloops will be discharged sooner under a new system called 48/6.
Focused primarily on patients over 70 years of age, the initiative, which uses Royal Inland Hospital as one of three trial sites, assesses patients in six areas within the first 48 hours of hospital admission.
“Everyone has probably heard of the scenario where a patient . . . has a relatively standard procedure done but they weaken and they weaken and before you know it, Grandma can’t come home,” said Gail Brown, Interior Health director of acute initiatives.
The situation is grim in Canada. Over 50 per cent of acute care hospital beds are occupied by seniors and 30 per cent of those will be discharged at a significantly reduced level of functional ability — most will never recover to their previous level of independence, according to the province.
The Ministry of Health is hoping for improvement when health care teams focus right off the bat on getting the patient home after treating an acute episode.
“Gaining strength, getting their appetite back, it is far better for anyone at any age to do that home,” said Brown.
“Familiar surroundings, sleep in your own bed, eat the food that you want, be surrounded by people who love you and your dog or whatever.”
A provincial report on 48/6 also states the system will help with hospital capacity issues.
The goal is to discharge the patient when functionality in six key areas is back to the same level it was when entering hospital.
Those areas are pain management, nutrition and hydration, medication management, functional mobility, cognitive functioning and bowel and bladder management.
“Instead of just going, ‘OK the acute episode is over, they’re finished their surgery, they’ve recovered well from the surgery, let’s send them home’ and then, ‘Oh actually we’ve got to wait for the daughter to come from Ontario,’ we can plan those things right from the first day of admission,” said Brown.
The initiative is rolling out to three sites in B.C. in September and if all goes well will be introduced in the province’s 22 acute hospitals by March 31.