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Improved handover service between aged care and hospitals launched

A tool to meet best practice clinical handover procedures between residential aged care facilities and hospitals has been updated and relaunched to boost its awareness and uptake.

The Brisbane North Primary Health Network and Metro North Hospital and Health Service have recently revised and refreshed its Yellow Envelope clinical handover tool for facilities and hospitals in its region to remind all parties of its effectiveness.

The Yellow Envelope was first launched in the region in May 2009 following a study funded by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care aiming to develop an audit tool focused specifically on information flow for transfer between residential care and hospital.

The tool was found to be effective and has since been adapted for use across Queensland and in other states.

Peninsular Palms, a 65-bed aged care facility in the region, is a dedicated user of the Yellow Envelope and is assisting to boost awareness of the initiative.

Peninsular Palms manager Sharon Wilkinson said they have between 20 and 30 resident admissions to hospital each year and have used the envelope for 10 years.

“Our major issue is that some hospital emergency doctors don’t know where to look for it when they’re treating one of our residents,” Ms Wilkinson said.

“We’d get calls from doctors and emergency staff asking for the information they had already been sent in the Yellow Envelope.”

She said she hoped that the revamped tool would encourage its use again.

“The more who use it the better. The ambulances and hospital will know to look for it. If only a couple of places do, it becomes a bit hit and miss,” she said.

BNPHN primary and community care coordination manager Helen Hoare was project Manager for the ACSQH study that led to the Yellow Envelope and for the subsequent audit of its effectiveness in improving the flow of information.

“The study found there was an increase in the clinical information included in admissions and discharges received with the resident,” she said.

“Since then, the Yellow Envelope has been adapted for use by across Queensland and in southern states.”

Residents and staff benefit

The clinical handover tool

Peninsula Palms clinical development manager Suzi Richens said they put all of the clinical information they wanted to pass on to those receiving the resident at the other end into the envelope.

It usually includes a medication summary, current mobility status and an advance health directive or other health directive, if available

“We really appreciate getting the resident’s clinical information back in those Yellow Envelopeswhen they return from an acute facility,” Ms Richens said.

“It allows us to transition them back into the home with their discharge summary, any medication changes that have been made, any follow up information, and clinical and medical information that we need.”

Read more about the study and audit tool here.

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One Response to Improved handover service between aged care and hospitals launched

  1. Bev July 13, 2017 at 8:18 am #

    The yellow envelope has been used in Melbourne for many years. This doesn’t stop the poor use of the contents in the yellow envelope in the Acute sector. it appears to be ‘lost’ or not used. Repeated phone calls to the Aged Care home by multiple health professionals asking for information which has been included in the yellow envelope continues. eg medications, mobility

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