Hospitals could learn something from the hotel industry, according to NHS England, particularly when it comes to discharge planning for patients.
When checking in to a hotel, guests tend to know how long they’re going to stay.
NHS England advocates a similar approach for patients receiving emergency or elective care, with a targeted discharge date to reduce the length of stay, emergency readmission and pressure on hospital beds.
And just like hotels that insist on morning check-out, many hospitals have discovered that arranging for a proportion of patients to leave the ward before 11am helps manage the total pressure on beds.
The Health Foundation calculates rising levels of chronic disease and an ageing population will see demand for health services rise over the next decade, putting additional pressure on hospitals that are already seeing bed occupancy rates of close to 90%.
Research by the Foundation’s REAL Centre notes the NHS has fewer hospital beds per 100,000 population and shorter hospital stays compared to other comparable countries, but while it demonstrates efficiency, ‘increasing demand is now causing critical pressures in hospitals’.
Even if the NHS continues to reduce the length of time people remain in hospital, 23,000 – 39,000 additional beds could be needed in 2030/31, analysis by The Health Foundation suggests.
So, with the demand for hospital beds intensifying, nurses need to understand their role in preparing patients for a safe and timely discharge or transfer from the ward.
This Learning Unit explains how discharge practice has evolved, with planned pathways offering a series of coordinated steps for planning patients’ discharge or transfer, covering both simple and complex discharges.
It gives an overview of the Department of Health’s discharge planning publication Ready to Go? including the 10 steps for practitioners to follow and the multidisciplinary approach needed for safe and effective discharge and transfer practice.
After studying this unit you should be able to:
- Identify the core principles of best practice within the discharge or transfer planning process in the UK
- Differentiate between a simple and complex discharge pathway
- Identify key issues to consider if a patient refuses to be discharged
- Instigate appropriate management for patients who self-discharge or abscond
- Describe multidisciplinary teamwork in discharge planning
- Explain how to deal with a complex discharge and with delays for patients
Successful completion also supports your continued professional development and revalidation.
Visit the unit here.