NHS doctors, nurses and other staff are being encouraged to ask themselves ‘Why not home? Why not today?’ when planning discharge care in a campaign called ‘Where Best Next?’
According to the Department of Health and Social Care, nearly 350,000 patients currently spend over three weeks in acute hospitals each year. Research suggests that more than one in three 70-year-olds experience muscle ageing during a prolonged stay in hospital, rising to two thirds of those aged over 90.
The campaign, developed in partnership with Royal Colleges, the Local Government Association and patient groups like Age UK, will therefore focus on reminding ward staff of five principles when planning care:
- Planning for discharge from the point someone is admitted, and ensuring that plan is shared with the whole team and the patient
- Involving patients and their families in discharge decisions, and telling them the benefits of leaving hospital at the right time
- Identifying frail patients as soon as possible and making a specific plan for their care
- Having weekly multi-disciplinary team reviews for all long stay patients
- Encouraging a ‘home first’ approach, including assessing people at home where possible.
This campaign will complement the development of digital tools to speed up finding care home places for those who need support after discharge.