February 13, 2024

Big improvements made for local people being discharged from hospital

Cover of the Healthwatch Hospital Discharge Patient Engagement report

Great improvements have been made for people being discharged from our local hospitals, according to a report published by Healthwatch Wakefield.

The Hospital Discharge Patient Engagement report shares the findings from two phases of engagement with local people, and their families, who have had a recent hospital stay.

The Healthwatch team interviewed more than 160 people over 18 months to understand their experiences of leaving hospital. The interviews covered key areas including communication, length of stay and support after discharge.

Phase 1 of the engagement work took place between August 2022 and March 2023, and Phase 2 took place between May 2023 and October 2023. The second phase was organised to see if patients reported any changes in their experiences following a wide range of improvements to discharge processes across the system.

These improvements include:

  • a focus on earlier discharge planning to reduce the need for transfers between wards or hospitals
  • the development of a Dementia Pathway to support discharge of those with the most complex needs
  • streamlining of referral pathways to make sure that support can be accessed more quickly and reducing unnecessary hospital stays
  • closer links to voluntary sector partners such as Age UK Wakefield District and Carers Wakefield and District
  • raising awareness of carer needs and rights
  • focus on communication with people in hospital and their families. This includes ‘calling cards’ leaving discharge information for people
  • a hospital focus on discharging patients earlier in the day, supported by timely transport and medication arrangements

The feedback from patients revealed:

  • a big improvement in people feeling that they had everything in place ready to go home
  • big improvements in satisfaction levels both for discharge and care and support after discharge
  • small improvements in satisfaction with overall communication and information
  • less negative comments about moving between wards or hospitals
  • less people mentioned waiting for medication or poor discharge notes

The work is part of an ongoing focus to improve hospital discharge across the district.

The aims of the improvement work are to have no one in hospital who does not need to be there, and to assess any ongoing care needs in the right place at the right time, including appropriate recovery and rehabilitation.

It is being led by the ‘System Discharge Group’, a partnership which includes Wakefield Council, Mid Yorkshire Teaching NHS Trust, community health services and the voluntary sector.

Nichola Esmond, Service Director for Integrated Adult Social Care and Health (Strategy and Transformation) and lead for the System Discharge Group, said: “We only truly know we’re making a difference if people tell us so. We are therefore delighted with this report by Healthwatch Wakefield, who have been doing a great job representing the voice of people who leave hospital following treatment.  We know there is a lot still to do, but it is very encouraging that we can see evidence that we are starting to make things better for local people.”

Read the Healthwatch report online.

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