11 October 2022

Using Flow charting at Newham Centre for Mental Health to understand demand and capacity issues and flow

By Clarissa Sørlie, Improvement Advisor 

All the adult mental health inpatient units across the organisation are working on improving inpatient flow. They are trying to manage high demand and make sure people who require hospital admission have access to beds and receive care close to home. The units have been using improvement methods to help them understand the issue better in order to help them develop a strategy and change ideas. Part of this has been about taking a step back and mapping the system to understand where there is the opportunity for improvement, as shared in the example below from Newham.  

Recognising the flow challenges across inpatient services within the Newham Adult Mental Health Directorate, Borough Lead Nurse George Chingosho organised a session for all staff in September 2022 to map the inpatient process from referral to discharge.  

To do this, George and approximately 30 staff from various disciplines and wards used flow charting (sometimes called process mapping), a tool that constructs a visual representation of the steps in a process, to create a shared understanding of how processes work and identify opportunities for improvement (figure 1.). The directorate continue to develop their flow chart through their inpatient Improvement Programme meetings and hope to identify some change ideas they can test soon. 

Figure 1. Newham inpatient team understanding their flow is real time.

Reflecting on the event, George said…

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