No delays to hospital discharges aim

A new approach to discharging patients from hospital has been launched across Central Lancashire ahead of the expected busy winter period.

The new way of working, which will see all senior doctors within the Royal Preston and Chorley hospitals set an estimated discharge date for patients as soon as realistically possible and ideally within 24 hours of being admitted, aims to reduce delays in people returning home.

Such will be the focus on making sure people leave the hospital on time, staff will begin planning for this as soon as the estimated discharge date has been set. A team of multiple professionals, including, nurses, therapists, social workers, mental health staff and
colleagues from the voluntary sector will all work together as part of a dedicated ‘Integrated Discharge Team’ to lead the new way of working.

Additionally, dedicated discharge facilitators will make sure that all actions needed to make sure the estimated date of discharge is achieved are initiated as soon as possible. This could include arranging any required transport, organising further assessments, or just making sure a patient has suitable clothing and their keys ready for when they leave hospital.

Karen Partington, Chief Executive of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We want to make sure that people leave our hospital as soon as they are medically well enough to. We know that nobody wants to spend longer in hospital than is necessary, and in fact being in hospital if you don’t need to be there can have a detrimental effect on a person’s health. There is nothing better to help people recover than being back in their familiar environment and around their loved ones.

“Last year we saw too many delays in people being able to leave our hospitals which had a knock on effect on people who needed to be admitted. These avoidable delays clearly impact on the quality of patient care and experience so lots of work has taken place across the whole Central Lancashire health and social care system to review and highlight the areas where we could make improvements. We are really confident that this new way of working will have a positive impact for our patients, their families and our staff.”

Denis Gizzi, Chief Officer of the Clinical Commissioning Groups across Chorley, South
Ribble and Greater Preston, commented: “It is vital that partners work closely together to make sure we are in good stead ahead of winter, when services are busier and more people need health care, and ensuring there is a good flow of patients through the hospitals will have a positive effect on other health and care services.

“This new way of working will remove barriers to discharging patients, which will mean patients won’t be in hospital longer than they need to be, and therefore more beds will be available for patients who require treatment by hospital doctors and nurses.

“It’s in the best interest of patients to be away from the hospital environment if they no longer need hospital treatment, so we ask the families, friends and carers of patients to support this work to get their loved ones home more quickly.”