Medical ward rounds are complex clinical activities, critical to providing high quality, safe care for patients in a timely, relevant manner. They provide an opportunity for the multidisciplinary team to come together to review a patient’s condition and develop a co-ordinated plan of care, while facilitating full engagement of the patient and/or carers in making shared decisions about care.
Adopting these principles will improve patient safety, patient experience, shared learning, collaborative working and efficient use of resources. Success requires a concerted cultural change, with clinical staff, managers and hospital executives all fully engaged and focused on improving the quality of ward rounds.
Tailor this guidance to your local circumstances, to support engagement and continuous improvement.
To get started read our rapid improvement guide on setting the clinical criteria for and expected date of discharge.
Adapt these standard operating procedures and checklists for local use.
Dr Gordon Caldwell, consultant physician at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust led the development of a ward round checklist that you can adapt locally.
This is an example list of the roles to be represented in a multidisciplinary ward round team and helping to ensure every decision made along the patient pathway adds value.
Learn from those who are seeing benefits from improving their ward rounds.
Examples of effective ward rounds
There are many resources from across the NHS that show some of the things to consider when running an effective ward round.
'Ward rounds in medicine: principles for best practice' from the Royal college of Nursing and the Royal College of Physicians, looks at how to include senior nurses and other members of the multidisciplinary team in ward rounds.
'Making ward rounds count' is an audit from Health and Social Care Knowledge Exchange that aimed to identify aspects of good practice and areas for improvement in post take ward rounds post-take ward rounds and prescribing standards to ensure that patients receive high quality care.Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s website is a great example of a provider dedicating resources to support their improving flow programmes and implementation of the SAFER patient flow bundle.
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