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Review will identify discharge best practice for nurses

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Findings from a nurse-led review to identify best practice in hospital discharge arrangements for community staff will be published later this year, according to the Queen’s Nursing Institute.

The institute revealed that it was expecting the announce results from the national review within the next five months in the wake of a damning report on discharge arrangements and their effect on patients, which was published yesterday by Healthwatch England.

The report – called Safely home: What happens when people leave hospital and care settings? – gathered evidence from more than 3,000 patients about their experiences.

It warned that patients leaving hospital that are older, homeless or have mental health problems were often being left “frustrated” and “bewildered” with tragic consequences in some cases.

It identified a lack of involvement in decisions about their care and also too little understanding among families and patients about the extra support required.

“District Nurses have a crucial role to play in ensuring that patients… receive a seamless transition of care once they are discharged”

Crystal Oldman

Responding to the report, QNI chief executive Dr Crystal Oldman said problems with hospital discharge were of major concern to district nurses.

She highlighted results from a QNI survey last year in which 83% of respondents indicated that they experienced difficulties in their practice because of hospital discharge procedures.

“District Nurses have a crucial role to play in ensuring that patients – including older people, those with mental health problems and people who are homeless as identified by Healthwatch England – receive a seamless transition of care once they are discharged from hospital,” she said.

“This includes co-ordination of care with other community services,” said Dr Oldman.

As reported by Nursing Times in March, she noted that the QNI was currently carrying out further research with district nurses on how to improve discharge arrangements.

This would aim to identify “recommendations to promote best practice in hospital discharge arrangements from a community perspective, with the focus on the patient and carer experience”, she said.

“The project is led by experienced district nurse Candice Pellett OBE and funded by the Department of Health and we will publish our own findings later this year,” she added.

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