GEM nurse partnerships position homes to enhance care, say administrator, hospital representative

Strong communication can create seamless transfers, while reducing hospital wait times

Friday November 20, 2009 -- Deron Hamel

PETERBOROUGH, Ont. - Having a strong partnership between long-term care homes and geriatric emergency management (GEM) nurses position homes to enhance their care, while reducing emergency-room wait times at hospitals, say a home administrator and a GEM nurse at Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC).

Paul Ludgate, the administrator at Caressant Care Mary Street in Lindsay, says by attending the Nov. 12 Four Counties Long-Term Care Palliative Network meeting in Peterborough he has learned about the importance of the GEM nurse role in easing transfers from home to hospital.

Ludgate says he believes a strong partnership between long-term care homes and hospital GEM nurses could help strengthen resident care, while keeping residents who do not require hospital visits in their homes.

“(This information will be) very beneficial to us, especially in the transfer and return of residents and the reduction in the time frames that we’re currently seeing,” says Ludgate.

GEM nurse Sally Bonaldo, whose presentation stressed the importance of having strong relationships between homes and hospitals, led the meeting. Her message is that strong home-hospital relationships can result in providing hospitals with a better understanding of why transfers from long-term care homes happen, while giving homes perspective on what the experience was like for the resident and what the identified issues are.

This, says Bonaldo, leads to enhanced care continuity for residents.

To date, Bonaldo says the information exchange between PRHC and Peterborough-area long-term care homes has been excellent. The feedback provided to hospital staff, she says, is proving to be a major step forward in making necessary transfers as seamless as possible.

“I think it has been very positive to receive (this) feedback,” she says.

Bonaldo says PRHC staff members are working to continue maximizing use of recently updated transfer summary forms to help enhance seamless transfers from homes to hospitals.

For their part in enhancing seamless transfers, Bonaldo says long-term care homes only need to keep doing what they’ve been doing well — keeping the lines of communication open and providing her with valuable feedback.

The Four Counties Palliative Care Network holds five workshops annually to discuss best practices in palliative care in long-term care homes. The network consists of representatives from long-term care homes in Peterborough, Haliburton and Northumberland counties, as well as the City of Kawartha Lakes.

Republished with permission from AxiomNews.

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