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Transition of care - yellow envelopes

Transition of care - yellow envelopes

Yellow envelopes are used for every patient who is transferred from a residential aged care facility (e.g. a rest home) to a hospital, and for every patient transferred from a hospital to a residential aged care facility.

The purpose of the ‘transfer of clinical information’ yellow envelope is to provide essential information about a patient in one easily recognisable place so that hospital and facility staff have all the information they need to immediately care for the patient.

The envelopes are used by residential aged care, hospital and St John staff.  Staff complete a checklist of essential information (e.g. copy of current medication chart; copy of discharge summary; time last medication given) on the outside of the envelope to confirm important information has been included.  The envelopes are bright and hard to miss.

We successfully introduced the yellow envelopes across Waitemata DHB in March 2013.  The envelopes were launched at the same time by Auckland DHB and Counties Manakau DHB as part of a joint project between First, Do No Harm and Health of Older People Network. 

The idea of the yellow envelope came from Northland DHB where they have been used for some time and found that they help to minimise errors and delays during transfer of care.  First Do No Harm undertook a staff survey in the three Auckland DHBs six months after the launch of the envelopes and their response was very positive: staff agreed that the envelopes helped to transfer relevant clinical information; made important information immediately available to hospital and rest home staff; and reduced the number of telephone calls staff needed to make to get relevant information.

Here’s how they work: