In March 2020, the Government introduced a new hospital discharge policy to help the NHS free up beds by getting people out of hospital quickly. This meant anyone who may need out-of-hospital support to help them recover would now have their needs assessed after being discharged, rather than in hospital.
The report shows significant numbers of people are not receiving follow-up support after being discharged from hospital under new policy, leading to unmet needs. Read a summary of the report below.
What did people tell us?
Overall patients and families were very positive about healthcare staff, praising their efforts during such a difficult time.
However, while the speed at which people were discharged from hospital was important, it often led to a lack of support for some patients leaving hospital.
- 82% of respondents did not receive a follow-up visit and assessment at home and almost one in five of these reported an unmet care need.
- Some people felt their discharge was rushed, with around one in five (19%) feeling unprepared to leave hospital.
- Over a third (35%) of people were not given a contact who they could get in touch with for further advice after discharge, despite this being part of the guidance.
- Overall patients and families were very positive about healthcare staff, praising their efforts during such a difficult time.
- Around a third (30%) of people faced an issue with delayed COVID-19 test results, potentially putting family and carers at risk, or in a care home, other residents and staff.
What are we calling for?
To improve hospital discharge for patients, their carers and healthcare professionals, ahead of winter and a second wave of COVID-19 admissions, we’re calling on the health and care sector to:
- Roll out post-discharge check-ins by phone or in person
- Develop a discharge checklist, including questions about transport and equipment needs
- Improve communication by assigning a single point of contact for patients and carers
- Link patients to voluntary sector partners or community pharmacists to deliver medicine and avoid delays.
- Boost community care capacity and recognise the value of voluntary care sector in hospital discharge.