Patient Care and Experience
King's Global Health Partnerships in Sierra Leone supports the development of safe and patient-centred health services by developing processes, referral pathways, and standard operating procedures to meet the needs of patients. We also support in-service training on topics from basic nursing care to Infection Prevention Control (IPC), to medication safety.
Managing Sierra Leone's National Referral System (NRS)
Since 2017, we have managed the National Referral System (NRS), a nationwide network of Referral Coordinators located in district and tertiary hospitals across the country, supporting patient referrals between facilities. This project has supported over 60,000 patients – mostly pregnant and lactating women and children – to access timely appropriate care.
The impact has been substantial, enabling a 50% reduction in the time that patients wait to be seen by a clinician. For critically unwell patients, that is lifesaving. There are plans for the NRS to be integrated into the government-run National Emergency Service in 2021.
Responding to Covid-19 and patient needs
At the start of the Covid-19 epidemic in Sierra Leone, in March 2020, our partners recognised the need to change practice in order to respond to the needs of Covid-19 patients and vitally, protect staff. We supported our Sierra Leonean partners to set up a local hospital Covid-19 task force, made up of representatives from each department and staff group. Collaboration with the task force achieved the following key activities:
- Design, orientation and implementation of a Covid-19 triage screening tool
- Safe patient flow for positive cases into isolation beds
- Covid-19, PPE and Infection Control training for over 200 front line health workers
- The set-up, equipping and staffing of a 10-bed Covid-19 isolation unit
- Use of holistic care planning to isolated patients, informed by emerging evidence
- Safe transfer of confirmed Covid-19 cases to treatment centres for higher level care.