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Hints and tips for hospital discharge

Most of us know that a stay in hospital is not good for your health. Whilst we go in to be fixed we often come home unprepared, unsupported and unwell. However being discharged from hospital as soon as we are deemed medically fit or optimised for discharge is actually best for us rather than a long stay in hospital.


Research has shown that 35% of 70 year old patients experience functional decline whilst in hospital. People will be less alert, physically able and less likely to manage in the way they did before admission.


Rather soberingly 48% of people over the age of 85 die within twelve months of a hospital stay. Now this can be for many reasons but the functional decline experienced will have a significant impact on an individual.


It is really important therefore that everyone does as much as possible along the way to make sure a hospital stay and discharge is as quick and pain free as it can be, particularly for older patients.


If you are a patient in hospital your medical team should be planning for your discharge from the beginning of your stay. This does not mean they want you out the door the next day but need to put the steps in place to get you better and get you home. The medical team should be liaising with the social care discharge coordinator to make sure plans align and a discharge is not a surprise.


You should be involved in discussions with your medical team as should your family. You need to tell people what matters to you so you get what you want. If there are issues with your ability to make decisions, these need to be considered. You should be fully informed of any risks of your going home as it is important you understand any changes in your condition which may mean you need more assistance. You need to be aware of the timeline for getting your home and what is involved at each step. You need to be aware of the goals you need to achieve to go home.


Medical team reviews should take place and the systems and processes available to assist someone with a return home should be considered and implemented. There are specialist frailty care pathways which hospitals have in place to make sure those who are vulnerable have the help and support they need to successfully return home. Your medical team should be working with the discharge team to ensure that you have coordinated access to support when you are discharged from hospital, to ensure a smooth transition from hospital to home, or wherever you choose to go.


Now, it is common to see a "discharge to assess" model being adopted in hospitals so that assessments as to need take place in a person's own home. This means you will be sent home or to a care home where further assessments will be undertaken to see what support you need, if, at all. Assessment at home is a much better way of identifying the help you need as long as it is done properly and in the right way.


The discharge process can be stressful. It may involve many medical assessments, meetings, and discussions even before you get home. It is important these are carried out correctly to ensure that you do not end up going back to hospital because something has failed, which is out of your control.


Argo have an excellent team who assist with discharge from hospital and the coordination of ongoing support and assistance which can take all the worry out of this process. If you find yourself in a pickle with discharge and really do not know where to turn, or feel that you are not being listened to, give us a call for a free fifteen minute chat to see what we can do to help.


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