Forté Hospital PACU Team Leader Emma Jones at Forté's Post Anaesthetic Care Unit.

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Taking a break to support post-operative care

A new initiative at Forté Hospital to stop and pause during post-operative handover has been applauded by staff, anaesthetists and the Ministry of Health.

The ‘Protective Pause’ initiative sees an improved structure used when a patient is transferred from the operating theatre to the recovery unit – known as the PACU (Post Anaesthetic Care Unit). The initiative has put in place a structured pause following the arrival of the patient in the PACU prior to verbal handover.

Forté PACU Team Leader Emma Jones says it’s a busy time when a patient arrives into their unit, with nurses needing to immediately attend to the patient’s airway as well as connecting them to required monitoring.

“We wanted to ensure that while we were focused on settling the patient we weren’t missing any vital, verbal information from the anaesthetist. This protective pause supports this, putting in place a structure where the work takes place, and then we stop and have a structured communication between the anaesthetist and the post-operative care team.

“Patient safety is paramount and this initiative ensures we have an accurate, concise and uninterrupted handover at what is one of the most vulnerable stages of a patient’s surgical journey,” says Emma.

The Protective Pause initiative has been recognised as part of Forté’s audit process, which is conducted on behalf of the Ministry of Health. It’s also been well received by the Forté team.

“We’ve had wonderful feedback from staff and our medical specialists who feel positive and more assured that this structured communication enables them to maintain patient safety at the very highest level,” says Emma.