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Benefits to the patient

  • Avoids inconsistencies in care
  • Allows mutual goal setting
  • Supports education of patient/carer
  • Encourages client involvement (in accordance with NHS Plan)
  • Can lead to shorter length of stay in hospital (1)

Reference: 1. Cohen, EL 1993, Nursing Case Management; From concept to evaluation. St. Louis Mosby yearbook

Benefits to Health Team

  • Maintains healthcare standards
  • Organises care
  • Supports communication between members of team
  • Makes audit data readily available
  • Acts as educational tool for students and new staff
  • Helps delineate patient's needs for transfer of care
  • Has potential for automation and advent of EPR

Possible drawbacks and queries

  • Isn't it too rigid?
  • The pathway simply acts as a guideline, and is flexible enough to be adapted to an individual patient's needs.
  • What is the evidence that ICPs improve patient care?
  • There is some evidence, but more evaluation is needed.
  • The most rigorous study showing such benefit is Grimshaw & Russell's Systematic Review of protocol directed care in a wide range of clinical settings , published in The Lancet 1993, 342, November 27, P 1317-1321.

    There is also a Systematic Review on ICPs in Stroke Management by Sulch D & Kalra L 2000. Age & Ageing 29:349-352.

    A helpful article on Integrated Care Pathways, summing up the evidence in support of them is: Campbell,H , Hotchkiss, R,et al 1998, British Medical Journal 316:133-7

  • What happens to the pathway documentation when the patient leaves hospital?
  • The pathway documentation is kept separately from the patient's notes while in use to allow ease of access, but the completed pathway forms part of the patient's record and should be filed with the the permanent medical record when the hospital episode is complete.

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Copyright ©Nikki Devitt 2002, on behalf of the WAHT Stroke Pathway Group

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Date of last review: 25th April 2002

Date of next review:25th October 2002