Managing hospital discharge for the elderly

Managing hospital discharge for the elderly

A discharge from hospital should only be arranged when the patient is well enough.

Discuss with the doctors and medical staff if you have any concerns with care at home and managing their recovery

Often elderly people will try to discharge themselves, because they want to go home. The doctors should prevent this, but sometimes your relative can persuade the doctor that they are better than they are and that they can manage at home, just because they are desperate to leave hospital. You must work with the hospital staff to ensure they have the full picture. You and your relative should be involved and informed about all arrangements.  A written care plan detailing the support needed should be given.

What is a discharge/care plan?

Discharge/care plans are usually arranged by a key worker, or discharge co-ordinator, who is a nurse or other healthcare professional. This person should be the main point of contact during the stay in hospital. Following discharge, ongoing care may be required from various organisations and healthcare professionals. The key worker should manage these arrangements.

Points to take into consideration are: –

  •  Mobility, including managing stairs
  • Ability to wash, dress and make food
  • Whether help is required with these issues

The care plan should cover these points and any other medical assistance necessary

 What should happen on discharge day?

  • You and your relative should have a copy of their care plan
  • Transport should be arranged
  • their carer should know they are coming home
  • their GP should know they are being discharged
  • they should be given the medicine and any other supplies they need
  • they should know how to use any assisted technology or mobility aids as necessary
  • they should have suitable clothes and shoes to wear
  • they have keys and money
  • There is basic food in the house
  • elderly patients should never be discharged in the middle of the night, or without adequate arrangements for transport, but sadly, this does happen.

Advice website has now published a helpful guide on hospital discharge and how to manage it to give families the information they need to ensure that what happens next is what is right for the person being discharged and their carers.