In December 2020 and January of this year, we ran our ‘Going Home’ project. This was to capture the experience of patients in Buckinghamshire being discharged from the hospital.
We wanted to see what was working well and what needed to improve. People were asked if they felt that staff were aware of their care needs. They were also asked if they were included in planning their care and if they knew what support they would have after leaving the hospital.
Healthwatch Bucks, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, Frimley Health NHS Trust and Buckinghamshire Council all developed a questionnaire together. This was available online and in paper format, to be given to patients at Stoke Mandeville Hospital and Wexham Park Hospital on their discharge. Due to staff capacity at the hospitals, most responses came from the online questionnaire.
We spoke to 31 people about their experiences. We found that the majority of people did not know they had a discharge coordinator, and were not clear on what social support they would be given at home, or who to contact for questions or concerns. Many were not told about community and voluntary services that could help them when they returned home.
The family had to do all the research and we were only told the afternoon before that he had to come home the next morning. It all worked out ok, but a little more notice and advice would have been helpful.
We asked people to share more about their experience with us once they had answered the questions. Many people felt they had received very good care while in the hospital.
Nurses helped practice getting in and out of the car before discharge day to ease concern about whether they would be able to manage on their own.
Some of the recommendations we made to providers were
- to ensure patients are told that they have a discharge coordinator and what their role is
- fully inform patients as to what social support they will be given at home
- let patients know who they should contact for questions or concerns.
Our full recommendations and findings can be found in our report.