In early 2016 Healthwatch Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead (WAM) asked us to collaborate on a survey looking at experiences of discharge from hospital.
What we did
The work was led by Healthwatch WAM with collaboration from other local Healthwatch including Slough, Wokingham, Bracknell Forest, Hampshire and Surrey. The survey focussed on hospitals run by Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust. These include Wexham Park, which many residents from South Bucks use.
We promoted the online survey via our website throughout November and December 2016. Unfortunately, we didn’t have an opportunity to send our own volunteers to meet patients.
The main questions from the survey were:
- Do patients experience delays in their discharge from hospital? If so, what are the common reasons for this?
- Do patients feel involved in the decisions made about their discharge from hospital?
- Do patients feel that their discharge plan is tailored to their needs?
- Are patients receiving the services that they need following their discharge from hospital and are these services of high quality?
- How do patients feel that their discharge from hospital could be improved?
What did we find?
The results showed that only about 7% of the people who took part were from Bucks. However, 53% had used Wexham Park Hospital so the findings are highly relevant.
The key findings from the survey were:
- The majority of respondents reported that they felt involved in decisions about their discharge from hospital and that a discharge plan was made with them and/or their family.
- The majority of respondents felt that their discharge plan met their needs ‘definitely’ or ‘to some extent’.
- 61% of respondents reported a delay in their discharge. The most common reason given for delayed discharge was waiting for medication.
- The majority of respondents reported that they felt treated with dignity and respect during their stay in hospital.
- 15.5% of respondents reported that when they left hospital, they did not know what would happen next with their care.
Based on the key findings, the following recommendations have been made:
- Hospitals should consider reviewing their methods of record keeping to prevent patients from having to repeat their medical history to hospital staff.
- Hospitals should consider reviewing the way in which they provide medicine to patients upon discharge, with the aim of discharging patients in a more timely fashion.
- Hospital staff should discuss with all patients, as appropriate, the need for health and social care services after leaving hospital.
- Hospital staff should communicate to all patients their care plan. This should include any services that they may expect to receive and any services that may not be provided. They should ensure that patients understand this information.
Healthwatch Surrey sent the report to Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust and received a full response to the recommendations.