Bridgepoint's Orthopaedic Rehabilitation team

Members of the core team who implemented the new dry-erase boards on Bridgepoint’s Orthopaedic Rehabilitation Unit. From left to right: Julie, RN: Richard, Physiotherapist; Lily, Nurse Educator; Valerie, RN and Doreen, Patient Care Manager. Not pictured are Regina, RPN and Ginny, Physiotherapist[/caption]

Earlier this year, the team on Bridgepoint’s Orthopaedic Rehabilitation inpatient unit launched a tool to enhance the patient experience by improving communication between members of the care team and between the care team and patients. Here’s how they made it happen.

The need

Orthopaedic rehabilitation often involves professionals from many disciplines, working together to help a patient regain function and reach their goals for recovery. Good communication between all of the members of the care team and with the patient and family members is essential to providing excellent care.

The Orthopaedic Rehabilitation unit was equipped with dry-erase boards in patient rooms to help facilitate communication. But members of the care team and patients felt that the boards could be even better. “We wanted to ensure these boards had specific spaces for all of the key pieces of information that patients and members of the care team need to know every day, so they could see it at a glance,” says Richard, a Physiotherapist in the Orthopaedic Program.

The team also saw a need for a more portable solution. “There was an issue in that, if a patient switched rooms we’d need to erase the board in one room and re-create it in another room. Information could be easily missed,” says Julia, a Registered Nurse on the unit and part of the project team.

The team

The core team leading the project included the Nurse Educator, Physiotherapists, Nurses and the Patient Care Manager. This group ensured that all members of the team on the unit from all of the health disciplines had the chance to share their feedback.

The solution

The team developed a new template for a magnetic portable dry-erase board. The new boards used larger fonts to make them easier to read. They also had more fields in order to include the names of the patient’s physician, nurse, therapists and social worker as well as the scheduled time for physiotherapy. The top of the whiteboard included a space to write the patient’s key priorities for their recovery and the bottom provided a blank space for patients or family members to write messages. These boards could also be easily moved whenever a patient changed rooms.

The result

The new tool is supporting communication and collaboration between members of the care team. “It helps ensure everyone is on the same page,” says Lily, Nurse Educator on the Orthopaedic Rehabilitation unit.

Doreen, the unit manager, notes that the redesigned boards are being used more now, and that patients and family members are using the message section to write reminders for the care team about patients’ specific needs or preferences.

“Improving the way we communicate contributes to quality improvement. By communicating better, we can improve the patient and family experience and even outcomes such as length of stay,” says Doreen.