Support after care
According to guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), when somebody leaves hospital and needs ongoing care, they should have a clear plan setting out what they can expect.
However, local Healthwatch heard that this doesn’t always happen, and that those who have plans don't always know about it, or about the support they should be getting.
Healthwatch Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead worked with Healthwatch Bucks, Slough, Wokingham, Bracknell Forest, Hampshire and Surrey to speak to 114 people about their experiences of leaving hospital. One in six said they did not know what would happen next with their care once they'd been discharged. A fifth said that they did not get the care after discharge that had been discussed.
Of those who did receive planned follow-up support, only half said they were satisfied with it.
“I was discharged without a plan or discussion with my wife or myself. I am disabled and the need for home care, rehabilitation or physiotherapy was not discussed.”
At the point of discharge patients and their families/carers often have to make life-changing decisions in a short timeframe, with potentially significant financial implications. They should therefore have access to independent support to help them make these choices, but we heard that these are not always available. Healthwatch Kent heard of one person waiting 20 days for an appropriate care package to give them the support they needed at home. Others told Healthwatch that they were readmitted because of the lack of proper support, equipment or planning in place for them.