It is of course important that patients are not kept in hospital any longer than necessary, but equally important that they are not discharged until it is safe to do so.
If it is clear to hospital staff that an older patient will need additional care and support after they have been discharged from hospital, they should first consider whether the patient meets the NHS Continuing Healthcare criteria. If they do, the NHS should continue to fund their care.
If the person does not meet the eligibility criteria the hospital has a legal duty to notify the relevant Local Authority of their belief that the person needs a full assessment of their care needs.
What steps should the hospital discharge process follow?
- A single assessment of the person’s health and social care needs (if any), living environment and support network. This should involve the patient and their family and/or carer. If the patient lacks mental capacity a decision will be made on a best interest basis.
- A written care plan recording these needs, including whether any equipment or adaptations are required if the patient is returning home.
- Confirmation that any required services are in place in time for the discharge.
The outcome of the assessment should be recorded in a care plan which may recommend a number of possible outcomes:
- Further intermediate care;
- Provision of re-ablement services;
- Further NHS rehabilitation or recovery services;
- Local Authority provided adult social services;
- Residential or nursing care accommodation;
- Private domiciliary care;
- Voluntary sector care and assistance.
If a Local Authority is going to be providing services, these should be arranged in a timely way to minimise any delay to the patient’s discharge from hospital. The patient should not be discharged until their required care package is in place.
How can SAS Daniels help with hospital discharges?
We can help you to understand the various assessments which may be taking place and which can have a large impact on your financial position and also the services you receive.
You may feel that decisions are being made too quickly or without your wishes and feelings being taken into account. We can ensure your voice is heard, and also advise if there are issues relating to your capacity to make a decision.
We often find that people feel pressured into being discharged from hospital, even if they do not feel they are safe to leave. If this happens, we can provide you with support to ensure that the proper process is being followed and that there is sufficient care in place to ensure a safe discharge.
If an unsafe discharge has resulted in illness or injury, we can advise you on whether you have a potential claim for damages. Within SAS Daniels we have specialist clinical negligence solicitors so you can be assured that you will be fully looked after and not passed to a third party.