Seeking social solutions for problems to prevent them from becoming medical issues is at the core of Age UK Croydon’s Hospital Reablement Service. By practicing preventative healthcare in the community, we hope to reduce the amount of people returning to hospital on a repeated basis.
AgeUK Croydon have been asked to team up with Healthwatch Croydon to conduct research into the delayed discharge of patients over the age of 65 who have been admitted to Croydon University Hospital. Healthwatch Croydon is an independent group made up of dedicated members of the public and statutory and non-statutory groups who seek to make Croydon’s health and social care services their very best for local people. They aim to do this by listening to the experiences of local people and using their feedback to develop ideas for improvement in these services; this includes hospitals, GP surgeries, nursing homes, residential homes, day centres and more.
Delayed hospital discharges can happen for a variety of reasons, but often occur because patients do not have adequate support in the form of housing, available carers or the equipment needed to assist their recovery. The hospital’s Delayed Transfer of Care Team is responsible for liaising with other departments to ensure that the patient’s social care needs are met through the provision of occupational therapists, physiotherapists, housing and social services. Healthwatch Croydon is working to clearly identify the potential sources of delays which can occur for many reasons, such as communication breakdowns and work systems that need to be revised. The Care Act 2014 places the patient at the centre of decision-making about their health and wellbeing and prioritises their first-hand experience.
Our job is to carry out surveys on patients and their families who have been admitted to hospital in the last six months but may have been recently discharged, and to find out what their own experience of hospital discharge has been like. We want to know how smooth the transition from hospital to home has been, whether the views of the patients have been considered and whether their social support needs following their hospital stay were met.
Patients are provided with the letter at the bottom of the page which gives them a brief overview of what we’re doing and offers them to opportunity to tell us about their discharge experience after they have returned home. When we complete this project in early November, the data we have collected will provide Healthwatch Croydon with a framework of ways that the hospital discharge process can more effectively meet the needs of patients.