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Thursday 24th May 2018

The pathways of care

25th September 2009

Kate Hall, general manager on secondment to the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement working in the delivering quality and value team on rapid improvement programmes, puts the importance of knowing care pathways into perspective.


Focusing on pathways of care enables us to appreciate what actually happens to patients.

But how many of us have walked that pathway, from emergency or elective admission to discharge?

Walking the pathway – something patients and their carers do – is one of the most powerful things we can do; following the route from the car park to the OPD, from the OPD to x-ray, back to the OPD, onto to the POA Department, to the Admissions Ward and to the Discharge Lounge.

Doing so enables us to put each stage of the journey that patients take into context and perspective.

Until this year, I hadn’t walked any patient pathways but recently, I’ve walked a number of them and have been finding out from staff what happens in each area. It highlights what works well and where there is room for improvement.

While some may dismiss this as a waste of time, not knowing how everything fits together isn’t ideal either.

Walking the pathways can help remove resistance to change.

Take the one-hour challenge: find a time when key members of the multidisciplinary team are all available to walk the entire pathway together.

This will help staff gain an insight into services, and enables people to understand the role of other departments and to start thinking differently.

Try it - you will be surprised what you learn.


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