Hospital Discharges: Should Do Better
A survey undertaken this year in East Sussex amongst NHS hospital patients shows an almost 50% dissatisfaction rating in respect of their discharge experience. The survey was carried out between February and April this year by Healthwatch East Sussex, a community interest company which reports patient feedback to the NHS. It charted the views of 36 patients, most of whom were discharged from the Conquest Hospital in Hastings or Eastbourne District General Hospital.
Among the reported findings
• Nearly half (47%) felt insufficiently informed about their health condition and treatment whilst in hospital;
• Only 44% had received a hospital discharge letter, and nearly a quarter (22%) stated that they had received no documents or any other information at the point of discharge;
• 42% say they received no information on how to access non-medical support and information;
• 36% say they received no advice on how to manage symptoms or physical conditions;
• Over 20% indicated that their expectations had not been met in receiving a follow-up hospital appointment, follow-up GP appointment, or a diagnosis or test;
• 53% felt ready to leave hospital at the point they were discharged, but 25% did not.
It may be instructive to compare these ratings with the average of over 90% satisfaction expressed by a different sample of East Sussex patients when asked whether their needs had been met at their most recent appointment at a local GP surgery (see HIP 183: GP Appointments in Hastings: A Survey).
Healthwatch have made four main recommendations based on their findings:
• all patients should receive a hard copy of their discharge letter, written in compre-hensible English, including details of hospital treatment, post-discharge requirements and any next steps;
• written guidance on medication (including self-medicating), pain management and appropriate self-care advice (do’s and don’ts) should be given;
• the same core set of information should be provided to all patients on discharge, including clear guidance as to who the first port-of-call should be for any issues that arise linked to their hospitalisation.
• They should be provided with details of any community or voluntary sector support for which they are eligible.
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