New role helping patients on their journey through hospital

A new role has been rolled out to help patients flow through hospital from admission to discharge as smoothly and speedily as possible.

Clinical pharmacist Katie Guant discusses a patient with apprentice care navigator Claire Horton

A total of 15 new apprentice patient care navigators are now walking the wards and corridors of Scunthorpe and Grimsby hospitals with one aim in sight – the safe and timely discharge of patients.

They are working alongside doctors, nurses and therapists on wards to provide administrative and clinical support to deliver a safe, streamlined journey for patients throughout their admission.

Elaine Coghill, deputy chief nurse, said: “This role is crucial in helping us underpin the safe, effective and well managed journey of our patients.

“No one wants to stay in hospital unless they have to. This new role will help us to unblock any obstacles in the way of a timely and safe discharge, ultimately freeing up a hospital bed.”

The care navigators will work with the shift leads to support a well-led board round, acting on the outcome of results, attending doctor’s ward rounds and supporting the nursing staff. They will also help manage requests for diagnostics such as scans and help nursing staff with discharge planning.

Elaine said: “Whenever we start talking about discharging a patient we need to try and make sure the right support is in place should they need it. For example if someone has mobility problems they may require alterations to their home, or specialist equipment. It could be that person needs help with personal or domestic care, such as getting out of bed or preparing meals and drinks.

“All of this can cause a delay if it is not in place, even though the patient is medically fit to be discharged. Our new apprentice patient care navigators will provide that essential link between multi-disciplinary teams in ensuring patients get the streamlined journey throughout their admission, stay in hospital through to discharge.”

Claire Horton, one of the new navigators who works on ward 23 at Scunthorpe hospital, said: “I love the fact I am playing a key part in implementing discharges.”

As soon as the patient comes to the ward Claire speaks to the multidisciplinary team to see what tests have been ordered. She checks to make sure there are no delays and that everything is running to plan. She also speaks to the patients and their families to keep them informed of what the care plan is, and also to social care and care homes if need be.

Claire said: “My role is all about unblocking any blockages that is preventing a test or something so the patient can be discharged in a timely manner when they are fit to go. It is all about making it a smoother journey for the patient.

“Ultimately I would like to train as a nurse and this is a first step on that career ladder.”

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