Home from hospital: Planning and preparation for discharge

Hospital discharge, particularly when it’s delayed, is becoming a very hot topic for the NHS. For a provider of home care, we are at the coalface of hospital discharge, receiving a high number of referrals for new clients who are ready to leave hospital.

If a person has gone into hospital relatively independent, and is ready for discharge with some reduction in their independence, the prospect of being unable to immediately return to their life as they once knew it can be difficult to come to terms with, both for the individual and their family, if they have one.

To assess how well the person is likely to cope at home, a social worker at the hospital will look at key factors related to planning a safe discharge, focusing on areas like the person’s mobility and how easy they will find it to prepare meals and maintain personal hygiene. It is vitally important that unplanned re-admission to hospital, perhaps as a result of a poorly-planned discharge initially, is avoided.

If the social worker recommends home care, this can be a daunting prospect for the person being discharged, particularly if they are living alone and have very little, if any, family support. Finding the right care from a good care agency that can start quickly is a challenge that many individuals and their families face. Social workers may make recommendations, but empowering the person being discharged with knowledge of home care is vital.

Finding the Right Care Provider

As with all care providers, we are registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), who are England’s independent health and adult social care regulator. CQC monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure that they meet standards of quality and safety, and publish reports on their findings.

This information, alongside ratings and reviews websites like Homecare.co.uk, can all help to assist people who are looking for home care to make the right choice for them or their loved one.

Ultimately, everyone involved in the hospital discharge process should only have one goal in mind: to make the transition from hospital to home as seamless as it can be for the person concerned. Many people wait far longer than they should to be discharged from hospital, and ensuring that the return home is a happy, safe and empowering experience is one of the most important aspects of home care provision.

 Published 27th June 2016