What it's really like to be discharged from hospital? - NEW Healthwatch England Report
When discharge goes wrong, it comes at significant cost, both to individuals and to the health and social care system.
A new briefing launched today by Healthwatch England – 'What happens when people leave hospital and other care settings?' – outlines where important steps have been made towards improving the discharge process for patients.
In 2015, the 'Safely Home' inquiry helped to galvanize system-wide leadership to tackle the underlying problems of transferring patients between services. Yet it is clear from NHS statistics, such as the numbers of delayed transfers of care hitting record levels, that the challenge is still growing.
Contributing to this study, we participated in an award winning collaboration with Healthwatch Lambeth on a project called 'Going Home'; tracking the experiences of patients in the first few months after being discharged in order to improve the quality of support. You can view a short video detailing one patients experience here.
Moving forward, in order to further understand people's experiences of leaving care in light of these increases, Healthwatch brought together a summary of the experiences of the discharge process.
This new briefing looks at what 46 local Healthwatch's heard from over 2,000 people about their experiences since 2015.
Key findings include:
- People still don't feel involved in decisions or that they have been given the information they need, including advice on possible side effects of new medications or who to call for advice out of hours
- People continue to experience delays and a lack of co-ordination between services, highlighting specific problems with hospital pharmacy services, patient transport, and care homes or family members not being notified when people are about to be discharged
- People feel left without the services and support they need after leaving hospital, with discharge plans not considering patients' other clinical needs or home environment, including whether or not patients have carer responsibilities
One person speaking with Healthwatch Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead about their experience as a patient said: