Summary of report content
Healthwatch Herefordshire undertook research into hospital discharge as it had been voted as one of their priorities for 2020/21, and the discharge process had changed since the pandemic had started. They undertook a survey and looked at patient surveys, speaking to 61 people in total.
In general the feedback from this project has been very positive, particularly regarding the nurses and staff at the hospital at a very challenging time.
There were many examples of good communication and after care, with patients feeling pleased with the way they were spoken to, comfortable with leaving hospital and confident they knew what to do or who to contact if they became unwell again. However, there have been instances where this has not been the case and requires a need to review communication procedures in order for everybody to receive the same excellent level of care.
Some reports described being moved to different wards and noticing quite a difference. There were a small number of comments regarding health professionals speaking ‘about them’ rather than ‘to them’ and although this was only a couple of comments, it is something which can be raised and easily addressed. There was also a small number of comments regarding communication between different departments within the hospital, and with other hospitals. These patients felt that this could be improved and could have led to a better outcome for them.
There were many examples of the public receiving a very positive experience of aftercare, having all the support they needed at home following their stay in hospital, but there were a number of individuals where this aspect of their care could have been improved. For example, the need for district nurses and a general ‘check in’ on patients to check they have the support they need or whether there are questions that they didn’t get to ask whilst in hospital for a variety of reasons.
Many individuals accepted that there can be a long wait for medication and therefore their opinion on the discharge process was based on their expectations which differed. For example, some people acknowledged it would be a long wait and therefore didn’t find fault in the process, whereas others thought a similar waiting time was unacceptable. There were a couple of comments regarding medication where people had been given the option to pick up medication from a local pharmacy, which raised the question if this could happen more often to speed up discharge. A large number of people interviewed said they remained on the ward during their wait for medication which may be a temporary change due to covid-19, patients seemed a lot happier with this scenario. Although we recognise this uses a bed for longer. However, when patients need to go to a discharge lounge to free up beds on the day of discharge, then the comments regarding the comfort of the environment need to be considered to improve this experience for the public.