Hospital stays are designed to provide specific and, usually, intense care. We all know that it’s much better for a patient’s physical and mental wellbeing to leave hospital as soon as they are medically ready to do so. Patients who stay in hospital longer than is necessary may face associated risks, such as infections and the loss of independence and mobility. Staying in hospital for too long may even slow down recovery. Research shows that 35% of 70-year-old patients experience a decline in their physical condition during hospital admission. For those over 90, this increases to 65%. In patients over 80, ten days in hospital leads to ten years’ worth of lost muscle mass.
That’s why we are working to reduce prolonged hospital stays and help our patients continue their recovery at home. For those that can’t go straight home we will support them in their next steps.
We want to encourage more patients in hospital to ask ‘When am I going home?’ This approach is designed to empower and encourage patients and their families and carers to feel confident in asking questions about their care and recovery beyond the hospital setting. Research shows that once patients have had the care they need in hospital, they will recover more quickly at home. At the end of the day nothing is better than your own bed.
We recognise it can sometimes be hard for patients to ask questions about where their care is up to, especially if they’re unsure about their illness or they can see staff are busy; but asking questions can help patients feel more in control of their recovery.
We are encouraging patients to ask these four questions so they understand everything they need to know about their care and recovery plan:
- What is wrong with me?
- What is going to happen next?
- What can I do to help myself get better?
- When am I likely to go home?
When patients are ready to go home from hospital, family, friends and carers can really help patients leave hospital as soon as they are medically ready. They can:
- make arrangements to be available at the time of discharge
- make the home comfortable for the patient’s return
- arrange help around the home
- arrange transport and clothes to leave hospital in
- put the heating on if needed
- stock the patient's home with basic food and any medicine they might need
- arrange any support the patient may need including emotional support, help with housework, assistance with getting essential items or personal support with washing, eating or getting dressed. Check what your council or local authority can offer by visiting www.
Remember we won’t send patients home before they are medically well enough or plan anything without involving patients, or their family or carers.
If you have any questions or don’t understand any details about leaving hospital, please speak to the staff on the ward.
More information is available in the following leaflets:
- When I am going home leaflet - for patients
- When I am going home leaflet - for carers
- When I am going home leaflet - for patients - Large print
- For more information and tips from the NHS to help you stay well this winter read the NHS leaflet 'We’re here to help you stay well this winter’
When you are discharged from hospital you will receive information from different health professionals regarding:
- Medications. The pharmacist and the nurses will go through all your medications before or at the time of your discharge - this will include the purpose of your medications, what side effects there might be and how to take them
- Who to contact if you have concerns after discharge. This may be your GP, the District Nurse or you may require immediate attention
- What to look out for following discharge. This will include any or danger signals that we can alert you to so that you can seek further advice from your GP
- Hospital equipment. You may receive equipment that you will need when you are home and this will be discussed with you by members of the team e.g.. Occupational Therapist, Respiratory Team, Physiotherapy
- Discharge letter and form. You will also receive a Discharge Letter indicating what medications you are being discharged on and further information about why you have been in hospital. This letter also goes directly to your GP to inform them of this admission to hospital. You will also receive a Discharge Form which is for you to keep safe and contains discharge information that you will have discussed with the nurse/staff member discharging you.
Wherever possible we will aim to discharge you from hospital in a timely manner. Late discharges from our wards may occur, however, for a number of reasons; it might be you are waiting for a final review from a senior doctor; you may be waiting for transport; you may be waiting for medications. We will endeavour to expedite your discharge as quickly as possible but if you are discharged from hospital late into the evening, this will be discussed with you and should only occur if it is safe to do so.
If you are in one of our assessment units such as Accident and Emergency and the Clinical Decisions Unit or the assessment area of the Acute Medical Unit, you may be discharged during the night once assessment and monitoring, or a review by a doctor, shows you are able to return home and do not need to be admitted to the main hospital wards. As always we will only discharge you if it is safe to do so.
The hospital works with the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) to provide patient transport services for patients who are eligible for those services. However, we are unable to provide transport for all patients when being discharged from hospital.Wherever possible we would ask that relatives and friends come and collect you and take you home. There will be times when this is not possible and we do understand and want to help at these times.
Out of hours, when ambulances are needed to take patients who have been in A&E or an assessment unit, please be aware that you could be waiting for the ambulance to take you home for some time as we depend on the emergency ambulance service at these times. We work closely with NWAS to do this as quickly as possible, but we cannot book a definite set time for out of hours ambulance transport due to other unpredictable pressures on ambulances.
Patients will, where possible, leave Warrington Hospital via our Discharge Suite, a comfortable, supported environment for patients to commence their onward journey home or to their next care setting.
The Discharge Suite is adjacent to the new Frailty Assessment Unit in Appleton Wing and has easy access for vehicle to pick-up (20min wait only, otherwise please use car park 1)
As soon as patients are identified as being able to be discharged they are booked into the suite and, if mobile, are able to enjoy the seated area with all the trimmings including Wifi, TV, hot and cold drinks, sandwiches; books magazines and games. There they can await transport, collection by family/carers or friends and their take-home medications.
The Suite has a dedicated clinical team and is equipped with thirteen comfortable chairs, six recliners and seven high backs. There are four bed/trolley bays for patients whose acute care is complete but may require further supported care in intermediate care or the community.
The Suite is open 7-days per week from 8am-9pm weekdays and 10am-7pm at weekends.