In BC, the provincial protocol for babies born in hospital is to receive follow-up by a public health nurse within 24 to 48 hours of arriving home. Liaison Forms are a summary of the pre-natal care, birth, and current status of mom and baby, that are filled out by hospital staff and passed on to public health to coordinate follow-up. Typically, Liaison Forms are the only way public health is aware that mom and baby are home – if not done, or missing key information, mom and baby will likely be missed and not receive the care they need.
To improve transitions of care for new moms and babies living in Vancouver, Raven Song Community Health Centre and BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre (BC Women’s) began a collaborative partnership in 2013.
Under the leadership of Esther Sigurdson, Clinical Educator at Raven Song, the team discussed challenges with the current Liaison Form and how to make the process easier for BC Women’s staff.
Esther says, “Our work in the community depends on building relationships with families. If we miss seeing a mom and her baby because we don’t receive the Liaison Form we’ve lost that opportunity.”
Prior to 2012, BC Women’s had dedicated Liaison Nurses who would fill out Liaison Forms and provide all the necessary information to Raven Song. But when that program was cancelled (in 2012) BC Women’s post-partum nurses took over. That’s when inconsistencies were noticed in the way Liaison Forms were being filled out.
Working with Terri Aitken, BC PSLS Coordinator at Vancouver Coastal Health, Esther and BC Women’s staff looked at their BC PSLS data to investigate how many moms and babies were missed due to missing Liaison Forms or incomplete information – there were 43 reported in 2014.
Through a coordinated effort that included staff education and minor tweaks to the Liaison form, improvements have been made and just 10 misses were reported in 2015. “That might not seem like a huge improvement because we see about 6,000 clients a year, but for us one miss is too many, so we’re quite proud of what we’ve accomplished so far.”
Esther credits the staff at BC Women’s and Terri for their collaborative approach to achieving this success and turning things around. She says this project has been very empowering because it’s given public health a voice and brought the two organizations together to focus on quality of care and patient safety.
In her role as BC PSLS Coordinator, Terri feels the same, “I’m quite appreciative of all the staff who report these issues in PSLS and I want them to know we’re going to keep focusing on this and working together. I’m also proud of the work Esther and the rest of the team have been doing, which is why I wanted to highlight this work for the rest of the province.”
In 2016, Esther and Terri say they plan to develop guidelines to help staff with reporting these issues in BC PSLS. We look forward to catching up with them later this year to learn more.
Congratulations Raven Song and BC Women’s!
Terri Aitken has been the BC PSLS Coordinator for Vancouver Coastal Health since 2008. She assists healthcare leaders, managers and frontline staff with using BC PSLS to improve patient safety across the region. Terri is currently enrolled in the BC Patient Safety and Quality Council’s Quality Academy. You can reach Terri at email@example.com