Health and Social Care Watchdog calls for better communication and closer working to improve hospital discharge for older people in Hillingdon

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Healthwatch Hillingdon, have published a new report – Safely ‘Home’ to the Right Care – outlining the personal experiences of older people who have recently been discharged from Hillingdon Hospital.

Over a period of 3 months, Healthwatch spoke to over 170 patients and their families. Following their journey from hospital, back into the community, to gain a better understanding of the discharge process and the care and support provided to patients when they are back home.

Graham Hawkes, Chief Executive Officer of Healthwatch Hillingdon, said:

“There is no doubt that the NHS and Social Care services are under pressure. Demand at Hillingdon Hospital is at record levels and delays in discharging medically fit patients are rising.

“Our research has shown that despite these pressures, over 80% of the older people we spoke to said that they were well cared for in hospital. However, the satisfaction rate dropped considerably during the discharge process.

“People told us they did not feel fully informed about what was happening to them, some said they felt under pressure to leave hospital because their bed was needed and others stayed extra days while a care home was found for them. We were also told about patients being discharged without support at home and care providers not knowing how to contact each other.

“It is clear from the evidence we have gathered that current pressures are affecting the patient’s experience of discharge. However, we believe that even in these challenging times their experience can be improved by providing better information for patients and involving them and their families in the discharge process.

“We would also like to see uniform processes applied to discharge across the hospital and to see communication between care organisations and their understanding of each other’s services greatly improved.

“We are pleased that in response to the report organisations have acknowledged a need for improvement and we look forward to continue to work with them to improve care for our older residents.

“For me, the contents of our report are poignantly summed up by the words of one relative;

“No-one at Hillingdon seems to talk to each other. It’s not that they don’t care, I’m sure they do, it just seems that no-one is working off the same page. If they had been, my brother would probably still be alive today!”

For more information contact: Graham Hawkes, Chief Executive Officer

T: 01895 272997 E: graham.hawkes@healthwatchhillingdon.org.uk

Editors Notes:

About Healthwatch Hillingdon:

Healthwatch Hillingdon is the independent consumer champion for health and social care in the London Borough of Hillingdon. The organisation will help to shape and improve local health and social care in our community. Healthwatch Hillingdon is part of the Healthwatch national network, established by the Government to ensure local patients and users have a greater input to shaping local services.

To find out more go to www.healthwatchhillingdon.org.uk

Healthwatch Hillingdon have produced a short film of patients lived experiences to accompany this report. This can be viewed at: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5mgLI37uPzE

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