Providing specialized care for our seniors when it matters most -The First Three DaysBy Michelle Tadique, Communications Associate
June 21, 2012
A new initiative at St. Joseph's called The First Three Days is aiming to prevent these patients from suffering any further decline in function while being treated in the hospital, with the goal of sending them home with as much independence as possible.
The First Three Days program begins once a frail senior patient is assessed in the Emergency Department and a decision is made to admit them to an inpatient bed.
Dr. David Tal, a specialist in both Internal Medicine and Geriatrics at the Health Centre, said, "this pilot project focuses on a patient's functionality – the longer a person is in hospital, the greater the risk of losing function and mobility. Early interprofessional assessment facilitates the healing of elderly patients to return to the community without the loss of function."
Within hours of the patient's admission, a thorough functional assessment is performed by an interprofessional team – which includes and an Advanced Practice Nurse, Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapist, Social Worker, Dietitian, and Speech/Language Therapist.
Connecting our senior patients with these key health care supports within the first three days of their admission helps prevent the patient from further functional decline while they are in hospital, and gives them a better chance at returning home with some, if not all, the independence they had before.
Dr. Tal said central to the success of this type of initiative is the amount of time and level of care our professional staff invest in their patients. "St. Joe's is blessed with excellent professional staff, dedicated to meeting the needs of our frail patients."
The Health Centre serves a growing number of seniors living in our catchment area. Last year, 18.1 per cent of patients who came to the Emergency Department for care, and 34.4 per cent of our admitted patients were age 65 and older. Our Elderly Community Health Services clinic accommodated 18,319 visits last year from seniors, while other services like our outpatient clinics in our Ambulatory Care Centre had almost 2,100 visits from seniors in our catchment area. The First Three Days also aligns with the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network's goal of reducing delirium and functional decline in hospitalized patients.
Initiatives like the First Three Days is one way our hospital is helping to Put Patients First by making sure they receive care in the right place, at the right time, for the right amount of time. The Medicine, Ambulatory and Seniors Health program is implementing a variety of Quality Improvement Initiatives, finding new ways to provide safe, quality care to the community in 2012-2013.
Page last updated: March 25, 2011