Short huddles focus on plan of care

Average time: 17 minutes

The multidisciplinary team on each unit at Springfield Regional Medical Center in Springfield, OH, holds short team huddles at a specific time every day and reviews each patient, the plan of care and goals, and what needs to happen each day.

The huddles are held in the unit conference room and take an average of 17 minutes, during which time the team looks at 24 to 30 patients. Case managers and charge nurses always attend the huddles. Ancillary departments attend the meetings on units where their expertise is most needed, according to Holly McGowen, RN, BSN, performance improvement nurse coordinator for quality and case management for the 284-bed hospital.

Each morning, the unit secretary prints a patient census for the charge nurse, who fills out a multidisciplinary huddle sheet for each patient.

To begin the meeting, the charge nurse or the case manager on the unit reviews the patient demographics and what treatment has been completed or is pending for the patient, and what the expectations are for the day. Each participant on the team makes recommendations for their department. If the team anticipates orders for the day, the department responsible for carrying out the orders is notified. For instance, if there is expected to be an order for the patient to go from IV antibiotics to oral antibiotics, pharmacy is alerted that the order is coming so that it can have the proper medication ready.

For instance, the nutrition department may make a dietary recommendation for a patient with heart failure. The nurse or case manager may notice that a post-operative patient could benefit from a physical therapy consultation. The charge nurse updates the sheet after each meeting, adding what care is decided on, what has been implemented, and what needs follow up. If the patient is transferred to another unit, the sheet goes with him so the receiving unit can use the plan of care already developed and modify it to meet patient needs.

“We want to make sure the patients get the best care as early as possible. Our goal is to see where the patient is right now and what we need to do for the patient to progress through the continuum of care,” McGowen says.