In its call for evidence, the Inquiry has specifically identified ‘meeting the needs of rapidly discharged hospital patients with a higher level of complexity’ as one of the issues it will cover. Patient Safety Learning and CECOPS have made a joint submission to this Inquiry focusing on this specific issue.
Our submission focuses on two core components of this issue:
Rapid hospital discharge - considering the challenges caused by the pandemic, the importance of interoperability in overcoming the challenges, preventing care homes and nursing homes becoming vectors of transmission, and harnessing digital technologies, such as an app, to assist hospital discharges.
Community support - as the rate of hospital discharges significantly increases, the need to consider the availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supplies, access to and guidance on supportive equipment and technologies, and other pressures that will need to be met by community support services.
In our conclusion, we call for action by suggesting an eight-point plan to address the concerns:
A model of demand to inform hospital discharge and the planning of community and care services.
New agile ways of working using digital technologies - an improved cross health and social care information system is imperative to ensure safe transfers of care.
Strengthened cross-sector leadership and communication between clinical teams, as well as with patients and their families.
The provision of equipment services addressed urgently to support hospital discharge and prevent admissions, i.e. wheelchair, prosthetic, orthotic and equipment services.
Integration of planning and service delivery across sectors with the right leadership, the ability and capacity at a local level to streamline services, and procurement to the needs of patients, families and care providers.
Innovation in the development of safe transfers of care. We must adapt the traditional bureaucratic processes and regulatory framework to ensure that the needs of patients are met speedily.
Financial support to ensure that there is capacity to provide community-based care.
The safety of patients at the core of all plans and service delivery. All plans should include how the safety of patients is being prioritised.