There is more to planning a hospital discharge than ordering medications and booking the transport. All the care and treatment that patients receive while in hospital can be compromised if their discharge home leaves them vulnerable.
Research out this month shows that this aspect of care is still being neglected in some areas, leaving patients at increased risk of being readmitted to hospital.
A survey by Healthwatch of 3,000 patients found that many were not involved in decisions about going home and that often they and their families were not aware of extra support they would need.
Communication between hospitals and community providers was found to continue to be an issue, with information not being passed on and services not being set up.
The declining number of district nurses is putting huge pressure on care being provided in the community so it is not surprising that some patients find themselves falling through a hole in the net of care once they are back home.
The authors of the Healthwatch report call for better communication between hospital and community providers. While this is needed, and will help to improve this issue, if the number of community nurses continues to be insufficient then all the hard work put into patients’ recovery is put at risk by their discharge home.