In a recent initiative, working closely with the Continence Team at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, acute product use was optimised, resulting in a 58% reduction and home delivery product costs were reduced by 25%, with very positive feedback from both staff and patients.
This area of the West Midlands had a higher than average increase in patient numbers requiring continence assessments (an increase of 65% since 2010), but the budget had remained the same for a number of years.
It was becoming increasingly difficult to manage patient expectations whilst offering a wide range of solutions.
The average cost per patient per day remained static and, due to the increase in demand, other options needed to be considered jointly with the Commissioners.
It was important not to compromise patient care, so extending delivery cycles or ceasing supply of net pants would not be acceptable solutions as they are not considered to be true long-term cost saving initiatives.
Abena and the Continence Service at Sandwell have always had a very honest and open working relationship. Working closely with the Trust, Abena analysed product use and submitted a report recommending 9 different cost saving initiatives along with guidance on implementation.
A new policy was drafted to standardise both the Community and Acute sectors; this included a reduction in individual patient product provision and the removal of pull-up products, unless clinically indicated.
The average monthly Community product cost has reduced by 25% and there are still further cost containment initiatives recommended by Abena. Acute product use was optimised, resulting in a 58% reduction - better than had been anticipated.
Staff and patients were extremely positive, with feedback such as: "I love these pads!!" and "much more comfortable than the old pads".
In a satisfaction survey, 100% of respondents rated Abena's products as excellent/good for:
In conclusion, this demonstrates that cost containment initiatives can be applied without compromising patient care but it is imperative that a good implementation plan has been put in place, support is ready if required and quality products are used.