Improving Medical Safety with Community Key Support Workers – Enliven Intensive Home Support – a service of Presbyterian Support East Coast. 

 

Better supporting and managing complex older patients in their homes was key to the successful trial of a new Enliven patient management system which focussed on improving medication safety and reducing medication-related incidents. 

Enliven Intensive Home Support – a service of Presbyterian Support East Coast, manage a growing number of older people with complex needs to live well with long-term conditions within their own home for as long as possible. This requires the right support networks around them. 

Enliven says given the more complex the client, the greater likelihood of medication incidents occurring and it recognised a need to find new ways to not only better manage complex patients, but provide better support systems for its Key Support Workers – a large workforce in our community who are delegated medication tasks from Registered Nurses.  

A literature review provided no creative ideas for tackling medication safety management for older people at home, so Enliven’s creative solution was to establish an area-based ‘medication run’ to be delivered by its most experienced Senior Key Support Workers (SKSW).  The idea was to allow SKSW’s to focus solely on medication only for the client which significantly reduced distractions in the process.  

The medication run trial reduced the number of incidents in all medication categories (medication administration, medication oversight, lock box management, medication – client and medication-pharmacy) and became normal Enliven practice in October 2017. Feedback from staff, as well as clients and their whanau was extremely positive. Other positive flow-on effects included a reduction in call centre demands.  

Health and Disability Auditing New Zealand (HDNZ) also commended the process as an innovative quality improvement initiative to improve patient safety that should be showcased in national quality forums.