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New guidance on ward rounds and patient assessment during COVID-19

Five health organisations release new joint guidance today to support teams caring for people with COVID-19. 

The guidance helps ward based teams to conduct multidisciplinary assessments while maintaining a safe and secure environment that protects both patients and healthcare staff from the risks of cross-contamination.

The guidance has been developed by the Royal College of Physicians and Royal College of Nursing in collaboration with the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, Royal Pharmaceutical Society and NHS England & Improvement Emergency Care Improvement Support Team.  The guidance is based on principles developed for a major document on modern ward rounds to be launched soon.

Multidisciplinary patient review in COVID-19 cohort wards provides advice on how to conduct ward rounds, board rounds, bedside and case reviews, and share information with patients, relatives, carers and other people identified as important to them.  Based on current safety guidelines and best practice evidence, this short and practical guide covers appropriate distancing, the use of PPE in different situations, and the best way to record information. 

As this is a rapidly evolving area of adapted clinical practice, the authors welcome feedback and examples of good practice to inform future updates.

Dr John Dean, RCP Clinical Director for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, said:

‘As we have moved into the second wave, we have a clearer picture of the needs of  multidisciplinary care teams in COVID-19 wards and how best we can keep everyone safe.  This short guide is the first national standard for ward-based patient assessment.  Developed by clinicians for clinicians, we hope that it will be widely adopted.’

Dr Nichola Ashby, RCN Head of Professional Learning and Development, said:

“The second wave of COVID-9 has highlighted, more than ever, the need for multidisciplinary working across teams to provide safe, quality assured care. The evidence-based, timely assessment of patients by clinicians introduced in this first national standard will provide guidance for ward based assessment. Adoption of the principles will support clinicians to deliver the high standard decision making as a basis for the patient, family and carer journey.”

Multidisciplinary patient review in COVID-19 cohort wards is available to download below.