Limburg hospital experiments with discharging patients earlier to catch up on backlog
Zuyderland Hospital in Heerlen has conducted an experiment in which patients who underwent simple procedures were discharged from care immediately after leaving the recovery unit. The purpose was to determine if it can be a useful method to catch up on procedures delayed during the second and third waves of the coronavirus crisis, when pressure at hospitals forced the cancellation of scheduled operations throughout the past six months.
The experimental patient flow was tested for the first time last week with patients sent home far sooner than normal, 1Limburg reported. According to the hospital, some 25 patients who would have otherwise remained on a waiting list for their procedure were able to receive medical treatment.
All the patients who took part in the trial were feeling well and could be safely discharged earlier, the hospital said. This mostly concerned simple surgeries such as tonsillectomies and repairing an inguinal hernia.
The experiment was entirely organized and carried out by the nurses of the recovery unit of the Heerlen hospital. Because the trial went well, more units of the hospital will soon also try to apply the new method.
Due to the coronavirus crisis, hospitals have fallen behind considerably with scheduled surgeries. Numerous hospitals across the Netherlands were forced to delay non-urgent procedures while they worked under an "all hands on deck" regime.
Zuyderland Hospitals in Heerlen and Geleen need to catch up on over 5,000 surgeries that were postponed.