Hospital Discharges During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Healthwatch Shropshire and Healthwatch Telford & Wrekin worked together to find out about people’s experiences of leaving hospital during the pandemic.
Woman leaving hospital

Since March 2020 hospitals have been working closely with community health, social care partners and local councils to improve the discharge process. Triggered by Covid-19, the aim has been to make sure no one is in hospital longer than they need to be. This included the development of an Integrated Discharge Hub in Shropshire.

Few people in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin responded to a national Healthwatch England Survey so Healthwatch Shropshire and Healthwatch Telford & Wrekin decided to work with the organisations involved in the Integrated Discharge Hub to create a survey that would be relevant locally and help them to evaluate the service. The Healthwatch England survey report is available here

Key Findings

  • We heard from a total of 50 people, including patients, carers, friends or relatives and paid care workers. 31 lived in Shropshire, 18 lived in Telford & Wrekin and one lived in Powys. We did not identify any issues specific to where someone lived.
  • In total we were told 16% of patients had received information on the changes to discharge processes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 68% did not receive this information and 16% weren’t sure whether they or the patient had been given this information. 
  • 74% of people were tested for COVID-19 whilst in hospital, 72% of those received their results prior to being discharged. 19% of those tested didn’t receive their results before being discharged, one of whom was discharged to a care home. 
  • 24% of respondents said that they/the patient had not been prepared to leave hospital when they were discharged.  Comments reported a lack of equipment, worry about support at home and two failed discharges 
  • In total 24% of people waited more than 24 hours to be discharged after being told they were well enough to leave.  48% of people waited between 2 and 24 hours.  8% waited for less than an hour before being discharged. 
  • We were told that 32% of patients had no conversation about support from health or social care after leaving hospital prior to being discharged.  16% were told they wouldn’t need support.  26% of patients did have a conversation about support before leaving hospital. 
  • In total 42% of patients were given information about who to contact if they needed further advice or support after leaving hospital.  42% of people were not given this information.
  • We were told that 76% of patients did not receive a visit from a health professional to assess their needs after leaving hospital.  8% of patients said they did receive a visit from a health professional after leaving hospital to assess their needs.  4 carers or relatives said that the person they cared for had received a visit. 
  • 16% of people told us that they had support needs which they weren’t currently receiving any help with, 6 of those people had not had a visit after being discharged from hospital.   
  • Patients and carers or relatives told us about good care they had received from staff whilst in hospital and about being made to feel safe. 
  • Both patients and carers or relatives told us that they felt that aftercare could have been better.
  • Carers and relatives told us that communication around discharge and after care could have been improved. 

Full Report

If you need this report in a different format, please contact us:

01743 237884

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