In North West London (NWL), each project we run includes members of the public or patient representatives to help shape our work and to sit on our project working groups.
With the help of our public and patient representatives, we recently implemented a new hospital discharge process and form, launched in May. To ensure that the new process is working as well as it can be, a follow-up workshop was held with our patient representatives to gather feedback and review our progress so far.
Prior to the new discharge process, problems arose when patients crossed Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) or local authority boundaries. With different services available in each borough and different referral processes for each, there was a complicated discharge process that delayed the time it took to get the right care in place for patients being discharged from hospital.
The two key changes introduced as part of the new process are:
- Single Point of Access (SPA) – a single phone number and single email address, in six out of the eight NWL boroughs, through which all community healthcare services can be accessed
- A single needs-based assessment form – used by all hospitals in NWL when discharging patients who require community based support e.g. district nursing, short term rehabilitation.
Based on feedback, a number of changes were made to the new form. Changes included additional questions such as expected time and date of discharge, preferred gender of care workers visiting patients’ homes, patient goals and changes to the language used. There was a consensus that the form was now clear and easy to read and used language that would help to make conversations between hospital patients and medical teams a lot easier. The idea of speeding up the hospital discharge process was welcomed, and it was agreed that the new needs-based assessment form would do this.
We hope to continue improving the discharge process for patients, carers and families. Our patient and public representatives are supportive in expanding the form to include neighbouring boroughs and the London area as a whole. We will also be offering NWL staff further training in using the form and we will be working in partnership with social services – another example of how we are integrating care in NWL.
If you are interested in reading more about the new discharge model of care, please visit: https://www.healthiernorthwestlondon.nhs.uk/bettercare/7dayservice/improvingcare
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