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Releasing Time to Care

Back to the basics of care
Releasing Time to Care program continues to expand


Hospital nurses spend too much time on tasks that distract and delay the delivery of bedside care, according to Barbara Kohnen Adriance, CareOregon senior manager for special projects & governance.

Releasing Time to Care Training
Releasing Time to Care Training

Perhaps that’s the reason for the positive reception among nurses to Releasing Time to Care. The program promises to reduce the time nurses spend on non-care duties, freeing them to reconnect with  their primary mission of  caring for the patient.

Created by the National Health Service in Great Britain, and offered in North America by CareOregon, Releasing Time to Care—or RT2C in CareOregonspeak—applies Lean methodology to hospital nursing practices. The program engages other departments, such as housekeeping, materials management, maintenance and rehabilitation, in transforming hospital operations.

From its start with four hospitals in 2010, Releasing Time to Care is now at some stage of implementation in 16 hospitals.

“The latest hospital to sign on is Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Eugene-Springfield,” says Barbara.

Also recently added to the list of RT2C hospitals are Silverton Hospital, Santiam Memorial Hospital in Stayton and the Veteran’s Affairs hospital in Detroit, Michigan.

Barbara recently gave a presentation at a quality forum in Vancouver, B.C., sponsored by the British Columbia Patient Safety and Quality Council. Releasing Time to Care is in place in two hospitals there, with the possibility of expanding further in the province.

This year in Oregon, Releasing Time to Care basic training workshops will be held in April, June, September and November.

 “The first hospitals to try Releasing Time to Care are now starting to roll out the program to their other units,” she says. “They've also figured out how to deliver the training internally. They can teach it as well as troubleshoot.”

For example, St. Charles Health System has expanded from St. Charles Medical Center in Bend to its hospitals in Redmond, Madras and Prineville.

“It's going viral,” Barbara says. “It's person-to-person transformation methodology.”

The expansion has produced nurses who are advocating for the program at more hospitals.

“In this process of collaboration, we have developed eight staff nurses and nurse managers who can deliver training here at CareOregon,” says Barbara. “Because they have gone through the process themselves, it gives them credibility as teachers and trainers.

“They can reflect on their experiences and give  examples  of their successes. It strengthens their ability to implement the program and to communicate about it.”

The Productive Operating Theater
Recently, another hospital process improvement program made its debut in Portland. The Productive Operating Theater, launched at Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital, is also a National Health Service program offered through CareOregon.

“TPOT is analogous to Releasing Time to Care, but in the operating room environment,” Barbara says. “Legacy good Samaritan has a great executive team and an engaged staff, which are critical elements of the program."

Barbara  describes the program as a s“bottom-up, top-enabled improvement."

" It’s quite a different way of working, and no small thing. We are anxiously watching to see how it goes, to see if it translates as well as RT2C.”

For more on Releasing Time to Care, here are three resources:

An interview with Deborah Eldredge, RN, PhD, director of Quality, Research and Magnet Program at Oregon Health & Science University.

CareOregon’s Releasing Time to Care website.

An Alliance of Community Health Plans blog.