Hospital Discharge – whose problem is it

  16th November, 2016

What are your care options after Hospital Discharge – Is a Care Home the only choice?  Just think about it for a minute –


Your name is Albert and you’re in your 90s. You have been seriously ill and now you have just about recovered – still some aches and pains. For 70 of your 90 years you have lived in your own home, you’ve survived the Second World War, and now someone is telling you it’s time to leave hospital.

Your confidence is shattered, your friends are mostly long gone and your family possibly doesn’t live anywhere nearby

It’s terrifying … then they start talking about a care home.

Does this mean once I’m there there’s no way out other than feet first?

Now think about another person. She (the discharge sister) is charged with emptying hospital beds. She has a tough job on her hands. They’re queuing up downstairs in A&E, and there are no beds available.

She knows that there are three possible discharges tomorrow on ward 6G. That should help. So she goes to see what is happening on Ward 6G.

Mmm, Albert on Ward 6G is medically fit, but his family live in Manchester and this is Surrey. They came down last week and have found a care home they like for him, but it’s full. The rest of the homes are just not right. The family are lovely and they are really worried about their Dad / Great-Grandfather. They don’t want him to linger in hospital, but their hands are tied …it’s all so difficult.

What if there was another way to help? A new model of care where Albert could be cared for safely in his own home, costing probably less than the desired Surrey care home. Surely that would solve the problems.

Well, it would if hospital staff knew about the service and were prepared to take the risk in helping him to go home. It would also help if there were a dedicated feisty admin person who was prepared to help with the details (making sure the Primary Care staff knew that he was going home, talking to the Registered Manager of the live-in service to make sure that they had everything in place, ready for a warm welcome home).

I don’t want to sound trite, but there are services out there in Surrey and Hampshire that can help. They are good services and they are very new. The most trustworthy and reliable ones are those regulated by CQC, where trained professionals properly supervise care. The problem is changing a mindset, from ‘everything will be ok if only Albert could go to a Care Home’ to ‘let’s do everything we can to get Albert home and to support him properly when he’s there’. Excellent live-in care really is the way to go.

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