RCP London have published a report of their findings on the best practise for modern ward rounds.
The report, undertaken by UK healthcare professional leaders and developed alongside patients, seeks to address areas of improvement in the delivery of this service.
According to RCP London, “Ward rounds are the focal point for a hospital’s multidisciplinary teams to undertake assessments and care planning with their patients. Coordination of assessments, plans and communication is essential for effective and efficient care.”
They go on to explain that the delivery of ward rounds is “consistently constrained” by the “competing priorities” of clinical staff. Factors such as workforce gaps, inadequate planning, and absence of training in required skills can lead to frustration in staff and patients, which can translate to errors of care, longer stays in hospital, and readmissions.
The report offers guidance in steps that should be taken before, during and after the ward round. Staff are advised to provide structured information during handovers before rounds begin, and to make sure that results from investigations are available and prepared. RCP London also recommends that patient questions and concerns are gathered beforehand so that staff are able to provide any information they may have requested.
During rounds, staff should confirm diagnoses and problems, address patient questions and check safety measures, including a medication review. They should then take this opportunity to revise the treatment plan with the patient.
Following ward rounds, RCP London advises that a multidisciplinary team board should confirm plans, actions and prioritisation, and that white boards should be updated. They also note that from here, the patient should be kept up to date on their progress.
The aim of this report is to allow clinical teams to “self-assess” against good practise, and to identify any “priorities for improvement” that may arise as a result. The report includes templates, checklists and advice on the recommendations given to support their implementation into hospitals.
The guidance was produced by the Royal College of Physicians, Royal College of Nursing, Royal Pharmaceutical Society, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and NHS England, and has the support of the GIRFT programme. The full report, along with case studies and recommendations, is available to view on the RCP website.