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TECHNOLOGY IN HEALTHCARE/PATIENT EXPERIENCE/HOSPITAL PERFORMANCE INDICATORS
‘Eat in a Seat’ Innovative program helps
seniors in ED get home faster
By Ania Basiukiewicz esearch shows that many seniors admitted to hospital emergency departments experience a significant decline in functional ability, which can extend their hospital stay and create additional complications. As a result, they often need additional help to regain their independence before they can return home safely. At Trillium Health Partners, over half of all patients admitted via the emergency department (ED) are 65 years of age or older. Christine Dias, Trillium Health Partners’ Clinical Nurse Specialist in Geriatric Emergency Management, knew there had to be a simple solution that could help elderly patients remain more mobile during their hospital stay, helping them go home faster. “When thinking of this problem, I knew the solution had to fit a busy emergency department – it needed to be a simple, fast, and an easy fit for ED nurses to work with,” says Christine Dias. “So, I came up with Eat in a Seat – a simple way for elderly patients who are medically able to do so, to get up and eat at least one meal per day while seated in a chair.”
Eat in a Seat empowers elderly adult patients to retain more of their functional abilities by eating at least one meal a day in a seated position, helping them retain key functional abilities such as balance, mobility, or independence with self-care activities, and improving the overall patient experience. In the first three months of the program operating at Trillium Health Partners’ Mississauga Hospital, the number of seniors admitted to the ED who were up in a chair for breakfast went from two per cent since its inception in March 2015, to a remarkable 63.8 per cent this past June. This was due in part to the overwhelmingly positive response Eat in a Seat received from the ED nurses, most of whom Christine was able to personally train as part of Trillium Health Partners’ annual skills day this year. “Eat in a Seat is easy to implement because it is the same treatment for every patient, allowing us to assess them and their mobility needs,” says Nancy Gilchrist, Emergency Department Nurse, Trillium Health Partners. “It promotes healthy eating and cognitive stimulation for our patients, and patients really enjoy getting
Christine Dias, Clinical Nurse Specialist developed the Eat in a Seat Program for patients like Florence Muirhead who are medically able to get up and eat at least one meal per day seated in a chair. out of bed and sitting in a chair to eat – it makes them feel better. They smile when their food arrives and their families comment on how wonderful it is to see them out of bed. I find it encourages them to be more independent.” Patient Florence Muirhead agrees. “It’s so much more comfortable and enjoyable not to have to eat in your hospital bed,” she says. “It just feels so much better.”
Eat in a Seat is currently running as a pilot program at the Emergency Department of Trillium Health Partners’ Mississauga Hospital site, and is being considered for broader adoption across its other H sites and program areas. ■ Ania Basiukiewicz is a Communications Advisor at Trillium Health Partners.
NOVEMBER 2015 HOSPITAL NEWS
Technology in Healthcare, Patient Experience & Hospital Performance Indicators. Special MEDEC Annual Supplement.