White paper examines reconfiguring the bedside care team to improve care

AHA News

About a decade ago, Prairie Lakes Healthcare System in Wa -tertown, SD, recognized it needed to nd a new way to improve patient care at the bedside. It developed the “Self-Organized Agile Team,” – a team of caregiv­ers that includes an expert nurse, a resource nurse and a care technician that work together to care for 10-12 patients on a given unit.

“We knew we had to leverage technology, get rid of unnecessary tasks, change roles and have agility,” said Jill Fuller, CEO of Prairie Lakes Health System and a registered nurse. “It’s had a very positive im
pact on patient care because we’ve gotten nurses back to the bedside, and we have a true interdisciplinary team taking care of patients. And it’s also improved employee morale.” Prairie Lakes Healthcare System is one of three hospitals with innovative and engaged bedside care teams featured in the AHA white paper “Reconguring the Bedside Care Team of the Future.” e white paper, which was released Nov. 8, came out of an AHAconvened roundtable of experts who examined the role of bedside care teams in a changing health care system.

e white paper describes six principles that will characterize movements toward a recongured bedside care team during the next ve years. e principles include: • e patient and family are es
sential members of the core care team; • Bedside care team members are fully engaged at the broadest scope of their practice;• e bedside care team is focused, highly effective and autonomous, coordinating communication with the patient and family; • Evidence-based guidelines that improve care are developed and consistently followed by every bedside care team member; • Technology replaces some clinical tasks, augmenting decisionmaking and complementing the clinical judgment of the care team; and • Patients needing acute care move safely through the health care system no matter where they are in the care cycle – whether at the onset of disease, in the middle of community-based care, or at the end of life.

“ese six principles must be deeply understood, valued and systematically applied and inte
grated into new care models for deep and lasting change to occur,” the paper said. “We believe that hardwiring these principles into a transformed system should guide innovation toward populationbased needs identication and individualized application.” In addition to examples of innovative bedside care teams at hospitals, the white paper also outlines foundational concepts that must be in place for this work to occur and cutting edge practices hospitals can adopt.

To access a copy of the white paper, visit


Topic: Advocacy and Public Policy

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