Enter and view: Milton Keynes University Hospital (Patient Discharge Unit)

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Summary of report content

In January 2018, Healthwatch Milton Keynes carried out an enter and view visit to the Patient Discharge Unit (PDU) at Milton Keynes University Hospital (MKUH). The purpose of the visit was to engage with patients, or their relatives and carers, to find out how they felt about the level and effectiveness of communications between the staff and themselves. The report explores the discharge process, including pre-discharge planning, delayed discharge and post-discharge arrangements, as well as general observations. Healthwatch found the Patient Discharge Unit to be a well-run operation with helpful staff, working calmly in a very clean and tidy environment. The PDU plays an important role in affecting the reputation of the hospital because discharge represents, for most patients, the final contact with the hospital and strongly influences a patient's lasting impression. In addition, because patients are understandably very eager to go home, there can be heightened sensitivity and emotion surrounding the discharge process. Representatives engaged with six patients, of which four were frustrated by quite significant delays in their discharge, three of them caused by problems with the provision of medication. This is a challenge for the Unit because while not necessarily responsible for the delays, they do take a role in supporting patients to seek resolutions to the various problems that lead to delayed discharge, and in reassuring the patients involved. The four affected patients were naturally unhappy at the delays and were frustrated and bewildered by the uncertainty surrounding the resolution process. They felt uninformed about the reasons for the delays as well as the likely timeframe to fix the issue. The report makes 8 recommendations, focusing largely on ways to improve the discharge process and address the most common causes of delay. The report contains a positive, detailed response from the service provider addressing all recommendations and pledging to design a new patient information leaflet based on feedback from patients.

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General details

Report title 
Enter and view: Milton Keynes University Hospital (Patient Discharge Unit)
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Milton Keynes
Date evidence capture began 
Wednesday, 31 January, 2018
Date evidence capture finished 
Wednesday, 31 January, 2018
Type of report 
Enter and view
Key themes 
Administration
Building and facilities
Car parking access
Communication between staff and patients
Continuity of care
Discharge
Information providing
Patient records
Quality of staffing
Support
Healthwatch reference number 
Rep-6724

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
No
Primary research method used 
Observation
Structured interview
How was the information collected? 
Visit to provider
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 
Announced

Details of health and care services included in the report

Secondary care services 
Acute services with overnight beds
Acute services without overnight beds / listed acute services with or without overnight beds

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
6
Age group 
Not known
Gender 
Not known
Ethnicity 
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Yes
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Yes
Does the information include staff's views? 
No
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 
Mixed

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Yes
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Yes action has been taken or promised
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Yes
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known
What type of impact was determined? 
Implied Impact
Tangible Impact (cost related)
Tangible impact (not cost related)

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
 
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
 
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.