Hospital Dr News

New standards for acute medicine launched

Acute medical units (AMU) should be staffed at all times by a specialist in the care of acutely unwell patients, recommends a new set of quality standards.

The document, launched today – the first ever Acute Medicine Awareness Day – also suggests that an entire team of skilled healthcare professionals should be available to deliver all aspects of acute medical care on a daily basis.

Produced by the West Midlands Quality Review Service in association with the Society for Acute Medicine (SAM), Quality Standards for Acute Medical Units also says AMUs should ensure they are prepared for unexpected rises in patient numbers when the capacity of the ward is stretched.

Another key recommendation highlights the importance of providing appropriate information to patients about their condition and the process of care on the AMU.

Professor Matthew Cooke, National Clinical Director Urgent and Emergency Care, said: “We know that earlier senior involvement in the emergency care of patients with acute medical problems improves their outcomes. Specialists in acute medicine are a key component in ensuring the best care for people who suffer sudden illness.”

Dr Mark Temple, acute care fellow, Royal College of Physicians London, adds: “The quality of care delivered on acute medical units is critical to the best outcomes for acutely ill patients. This important document sets out the quality standards for the care of patients with acute medical conditions, throughout the NHS”.

The document complements the simultaneous launch of the Silver Book, which deals specifically with the needs of older patients in the emergency setting. The Silver Book recommends ways in which emergency admissions can be reduced and the experience of those admitted improved.

It considers all the clinical contacts which a patient might have during an emergency and suggests minimum standards and responses for each service including: primary care – in and out of hours; ambulance services; emergency departments; urgent care units – including minor injury units and walk-in-centres; acute medical units and community hospitals.

A core focus of the Silver Book is the skills and competencies needed by healthcare staff to assess and manage frail older people.   This includes communication skills, both with patients and other health and social care professionals; clinical reasoning and assessment skills in respect of complex co-morbidities; poly-pharmacy and altered physiological response to trauma and illness; and risk management skills surrounding discharge planning with knowledge of community services.

Dr Jay Banerjee, consultant in emergency medicine, with a special interest in paediatrics and geriatrics, at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and lead author of the Silver Book, said: “We need to change how we care for older people in an emergency.  At the moment services are too fragmented and poor communication between different clinical settings and professionals is affecting the quality of care older people receive.”

Dr Chris Roseveare, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: “Releasing these two documents on Acute Medicine Awareness day emphasises the importance of delivering high quality care for patients of all ages when they first come in to hospital”.

Bookmark and Share

Post a Comment

Enter this security code

Submit Comment for Moderation