Healthwatch works with local health commissioners to improve information for patients leaving hospital
The new ‘When you are ready to leave hospital’ leaflet is hitting the wards in Addenbrooke’s and most other local hospitals this month. It is designed to give patients better information to help them when they are being discharged from hospital or other care services.
The leaflet, published by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), was developed from a project started by Healthwatch Cambridgeshire in 2016. It’s now part of the CCG’s updated Choice policy and will be used to help patients plan as they leave hospital.
‘We wanted to make sure that people understand the options they have when they are leaving hospital, particularly people who needed ongoing care and support’, explained Sandie Smith, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Cambridgeshire and Healthwatch Peterborough.
‘The health and care system can be very confusing, and we heard from patients and their relatives about some really difficult experiences.’
We recruited four volunteers who between them had different insights into hospital discharge to help write a patient information leaflet. Rebecca, from Cambridge, told us of her father’s poor experiences of leaving hospital back in 2015.
‘I was very pleased to be involved in reviewing the discharge patient information. Several times over the past decade or so I have first-hand experience of relatives being admitted to hospital.’
‘I found working out who to talk to and when they were available, how to navigate the ever-changing processes, and working out what to do on the day of discharge time consuming, confusing and often distressing.‘
‘Hospital staff want to do their best for patients and relatives but don’t always have the time or information to explain discharge. ‘
‘Having an easy-to-read flyer, with further contacts, ought to be helpful - and for staff too. Coming from a publishing background, I was a very picky reviewer. I pushed for the information I would find useful and also for it to be written in a friendly style. I really hope this will be widely used and that it will reduce some of the anxiety experienced by so many people during hospital stays.’
A CCG spokesperson said, 'patients will be given the new leaflet to explain the discharge process and to help them make decisions about where their care is provided after they leave hospital.'
‘The leaflet will also support hospitals with their discharge planning processes to ensure that patients who are assessed as medically fit for discharge can leave hospital in a safe and timely way.’
At Healthwatch, we will continue to listen to people’s experiences of leaving hospital and how their ongoing care arrangements work. Please tell us about any recent experience you have of leaving hospital. We want to know if it went well, or if there are things that could have been better.