Supporting Patient’s Choices to Avoid Long Hospital Stays
4th August 2017
Health and social care organisations are working together to improve the way we support patients to avoid long hospital stays by adopting a new policy which has been developed nationally to create an equal approach for people across Lancashire and South Cumbria. The aim is to make sure that hospital beds are used for those with a medical need and that people do not spend longer in hospital than they need to.
By ‘long hospital stays’ we mean people who are staying longer than they need to for medical reasons and they are fit to leave. We know that staying in hospital longer than necessary is not good for people, it can cause physical problems, particularly for older people.
Hospitals are not the best places for people to remain once their treatment has been completed. It is important that we help people to get to the right place as soon as possible after a hospital stay, which in most cases will be their own home. At the moment we have too many people who are not able to leave when they are fit to do so. We want to improve this and help patients, their families and carers to make appropriate choices in order to avoid these long stays.
We are going to improve our procedures using a new joint policy across Lancashire and South Cumbria for both health and social care to provide an equity of treatment. Improvements will include the way we communicate with patients and carers around a persons’ treatment and care plans that detail what is going to happen, when you are likely to leave hospital, and where you will go at that point. As a general rule we believe that people should be discharged from acute hospitals as soon as it is deemed safe and appropriate to do so. It is also important that health and care staff are supported to help patients to avoid long hospital stays.
For some people they will not be returning home either initially or in the longer term, if they have significant health and care needs. For these people we need to work closely with the patients and their families or carers to help them understand their options. We want to help patients and families to make informed decisions about next steps.
For more information about what this means to patients, NHS England and Healthwatch England have produced an easy read leaflet which is available here: http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/keogh-review/Documents/quick-guides/background-docs/patient-leaflet-easy-read.pdf