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17.02.2016

Improve hospital discharge processes for over 65s say Croydon residents

Improving discharge processes for over 65s at Croydon University Hospital will help communication between patients, GPs pharmacies and social care providers, say Croydon residents who contributed to a recent public meeting on this issue.

The meeting, organised by Healthwatch Croydon in association with Age UK Croydon, gained views of former discharge patients, carers, residents and service providers to make recommendations on how hospital discharge for over 65s can be improved by exploring issues raised from the report ‘Experiences of discharge at Croydon University Hospital by patients aged 65 years and over’, published on 2 February.

The report, which found that no patient had a significant delay, also said that communication between the hospital and patients, GPs, pharmacies and social service providers could be better. The following recommendations were suggested:

Better information resources: Many of the concerns for patients were due to a lack of understanding of the discharge process. Clear, easy to understand information is needed and has to be distributed effectively.

Better processes: The lack of some simple effective processes was contributing to the communications gap felt by the patients. These included: simple checklists before discharging; fixed times to meet with staff; and ensuring GPs and pharmacies received timely and adequate notification that their patient was being discharged. They could then be ready to advise and provide relevant treatments.

Improved communications: Better communications between patients and staff could be improved by the use of discharge advocates, which are currently being trialled at Croydon University Hospital. They can provide that crucial link between patients and their families and carers, with the hospital staff, GPs and social care services, and ensure a smoother experience for patients.

Vanessa Horsford, Acting Chair of Healthwatch Croydon said:

“The original report suggested that patients and community providers were not being effectively communicated to by the hospital, but when the discussion is widened to include the views of community service providers, the priorities are around process. It is good to see that there are practical solutions being proposed which ensure the patient is better communicated to while also supporting service delivery. Healthwatch Croydon fully supports the Trust in trialling new processes such as hospital advocates, and looks forward to seeing these processes rolled out as standard for the hospital’s older patients.”

The meeting report Over 65s Hospital Discharge Public Meeting Report and the Experiences of discharge by patients aged 65 years and over at Croydon University Hospital report can be downloaded from https://www.healthwatchcroydon.co.uk/learn-more/our-reports/