Coordinated Discharge Planning via Skype - Norrbotten, Sweden

The medical and rehabilitation clinic at Piteå Hospital has a wide catchment area reaching over 350 km from the mountain areas in the west to the coast in the east. Because of long distances, some care plans are made by telephone.

Many of the patients at the hospital in Piteå belong to the municipality of Älvsbyn and the distance of 50 km means that the municipality's representatives do not have the opportunity to participate in all care plans in place. Previously, speakerphone has been used and patients have trouble hearing what is said and know who it is talking.

– For several years, we have planned discharge plans via video and tested a few times. But for various reasons we have not succeeded, says Gudrun Bergström, local project manager at Piteå Hospital.

They heard about the RemoAge project, became curious and asked if they could participate. With the help from the project and partly old equipment, they got started.

– We have used Skype where the responsible nurse in the hospital sent an invitation to the meeting. At the discharge meeting the patient is placed in the centre of the computer screen and clearly sees who participates from Älvsbyn. Many people become very happy when they see people whom they met before and have a much greater retention of the meeting than when it was done by phone. We get a higher quality of the discharge plans and both patients and relatives are more satisfied, says Annelee Mickelsson, local project manager at Älvsbyn Municipality.

The experiences among the nurses at the hospital are mixed. Most of them are very positive, while some find it difficult with video meetings and have problems with the technology.

– There are clear manuals and routines, but it requires both practise and some pressure to make sure everyone is using the new way of working. The overall assessment is certainly very positive, and we intend to continue with Skype Discharge Plans, and we are also thinking about implementing this way of working in other locations, says Gudrun Bergström.

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