Background / Aims: As part of a larger study, patients’ experiences of using equipment for independence at home was examined. CM Health has a stated aim of reducing avoidable hospital admissions, and reducing the average length of hospital stay. To facilitate discharge, occupational therapists spend over $750,000 per year for short-term loan equipment. With tight budget constraints, it was time to investigate patients’ experiences of using the equipment, so that future service development can be based on their experiences.
Methods: The methodology was phenomenological hermeneutics. Eight patients were interviewed in their homes. The interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed for detailed analysis. The analysis involved listening to the patients’ stories of using the equipment, and looking for obvious themes, and the hidden, glossed over aspects of their stories that gave more information about their experiences.
Results: Patients were grateful for the short-term loan equipment, which they experienced as extremely useful in giving them confidence to take care of themselves, to cope with painful joints, and to retain personal dignity, while they recovered at home. Equipment delivery, set-up and retrieval processes worked smoothly some of the time, and not at all for others, especially at the weekend. Patients’ recall of written instructions given to them by occupational therapists was patchy.
Conclusions: The short-term loan equipment service is valued highly by patients because of how it supports them to recover at home. The process of delivery, set-up and retrieval of equipment requires attention, to ensure that the processes work 7 days a week. As the staff work to achieve the DHB’s stated aims of avoiding hospital admissions, expedite patient discharges, and reduce the average length of stay in hospital, the amount of assistive equipment provided is likely to rise, and therefore cost the DHB more. This will be an opportunity cost for the DHB.
Counties Manukau Health