The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) has reported on complaints received about hundreds of vulnerable and elderly patients, sometimes including those with dementia and / or frailty, who have been discharged inappropriately from hospital.
It seems likely that pressures within NHS hospitals to discharge patients swiftly, coupled with a social care system under-resourced to provide adequate care in the community post-discharge, may sometimes result in unacceptable compromises to patient safety and dignity. The PHSO alleges that poor planning, co-ordination and / or communication, whether between hospital staff and / or between health and social care services, sometimes fails to support the interests of those vulnerable patients least able to care, or speak-up, for themselves.
The underlying causes / issues involve:
- Patients sometimes discharged before they are ready clinically to leave hospital.
- Patients sometimes not assessed or consulted properly before discharge.
- Relatives and carers sometimes not informed when their loved one has been / is about to be discharged.
- Patients sometimes discharged with no home-care plan in place, or on the other hand being kept in hospital unduly due to poor co-ordination across health and care services.
Roberts, M. (2016). Ombudsman: Patients sent home afraid and with little support. London: BBC Health News, May 11th 2016.
A report of investigations into unsafe discharge from hospital. London [Online]: Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, May 2016.
This relates to:
A report of investigations into unsafe discharge from hospital. London: Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, May 10th 2016.