When a child gets admitted to your hospital and gets sicker it may mean a transfer or transport. When a child is sick enough to require tertiary care it draws upon many resources for this process to be successful.
Having spent many years on the paediatric transport team, I have witnessed the amazing work that the outlying hospitals do with the resources they have. One of the most common things I heard was “I will be glad when this patient is out of here.” I know that this statement is said in terms of ‘we have done what we can do, now it is your turn‘. I know this is said as this patient is monopolizing their limited resources. So the team takes them away and that may be the last you hear. Where is the closure? Is there a feeling of ‘I did all that work, invested all that energy, whatever happened to that kid?‘
Are we missing an opportunity? I think we are. It comes in the form of communication.
This communication will recognize the work done. Communication may expose timely knowledge sharing opportunities. Through enhanced communication, the child may be able to return to a hospital closer to home sooner.
Through the MNCYN/OTN initiative, there is now a platform to have a timely conversation about any critical paediatric patient that you have transferred to London.
There are mechanisms in place now that provide patient feedback. You may have access to the electronic record and follow the path of care. You may receive a patient care summary weeks following the transfer. By definition we are communicating, but there is an obvious void. Timely face-to-face communication via OTN will bring a more distinctive connection. It can involve many members of the health care team. It can promote a better understanding of practices. The discussion may assume an unplanned direction, but we will be talking.
We are partners. We should talk more.
Doug Jowett, RN, CNCCP(C)
Paediatric Education Consultant