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Communicate better with us to improve hospital discharge say Croydon’s older patients

To ensure a better experience of hospital discharge for patients aged 65 and over, Croydon University Hospital needs to improve communications between patients and health care providers, according to a survey commissioned by Healthwatch Croydon.

While one in five patients were delayed (20%) usually waiting for medication, transport or equipment, most patients were more concerned about a lack of knowledge about the whole process, lack of time to discuss issues with doctors, and lack of communications between pharmacy, GP and social care services.

The survey of 100 patients and carers, carried out between June and November 2015 by Age UK Croydon on behalf of Healthwatch Croydon, showed that better information and communications processes would significantly improve patient experience.

No patients reported a major impact on their delayed discharge, with 82% waiting less than an hour in the Discharge Lounge to go home. However, nearly one in four (23%) felt that they could have been better communicated to; 23% of patients felt their needs were not met; 23% of carers and families felt their views were not considered; and 35% of carers said that they had not been informed at all stages.

The report ‘Experiences of discharge from Croydon University Hospital by patients aged 65 years and over’, published today, makes the following recommendations:

• Clearer, more accessible information about the discharge process for patients, carers and families, to reduce confusion as to what a planned/unplanned discharge is and what a delayed discharge is.

• Better written records of who has spoken to the patient and a summary of what was discussed to reduce confusion.

• Designated contact time for carers with doctors and ward staff when carers can ask questions in person or on the phone rather than trying to talk to ward staff and doctors or failing to get the information they need.

• Enable a seamless service between the ward and pharmacy for patients who need medication to take home with them, to prevent delays at point of discharge.

• Checklist process required on each patient’s note, staff could then see if there are any outstanding issues before discharge.

• Send discharge summaries to GPs within 24 hours so GPs can be aware of patients and know that a patient has been in hospital or if medication has been changed.

To mark the publication of the report, Healthwatch Croydon and Age UK Croydon are hosting a Public Meeting on 9 February 2016, 11:00 to 14:00 at the Scratchley Hall, Age UK Croydon, 81 Brigstock Road, Thornton Heath, Croydon CR7 7JH

They want to hear more experiences of those aged 65 and over being discharged from Croydon University Hospital. It is open to all residents and carers of residents living in Croydon to attend as well as those contributing to the delivery of services. For those not online, please book by calling 020 8680 5450, where transport can be arranged, or can book via

Charlie Ladyman, CEO of Healthwatch Croydon said:

“While it is encouraging to see that there are no major delays for patients, it is clear there is a significant communications gap between patient and hospital from information on the process, to maintaining records, and to liaising with GPs, pharmacies and social care providers. By introducing these recommendations they can ensure a smoother journey for patients through the whole discharge process and manage patients’ expectations. We look forward to supporting Croydon University Hospital in making the changes to give a better service for its older patients.”