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.
Healthwatch England found out how the new policy was affecting people's experience of leaving hospital. Together with the British Red Cross, they spoke to over 500 patients and carers and conducted 47 in-depth interviews with health and care professionals involved in the hospital discharge process.
What did people say?
- 82% of respondents did not receive a follow-up visit and assessment at home and almost one in five of these reported unmet care needs.
- 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.
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