Voices - Discharge challenge can be met by pooling skills, says Crystal Oldman

The first principle of nursing care I learned as a student several decades ago was that planning for a patient’s discharge starts on the day of admission to hospital.

That rule is no different today, so it is disappointing to learn that there are still significant challenges in providing a seamless service when a patient moves between hospital and home.

The multifactorial issues are well documented in a recent report from Healthwatch England ( Although the report includes some examples of good practice, no recommendations for practice are provided.

The Queen’s Nursing Institute is currently undertaking a discharge planning project that will build on this report, and provide recommendations for best practice for hospital and community providers.

We are taking a principle-based, solution-focused approach. For example, the patient experience would be improved if we could all agree to accept a ‘single trusted assessment’ rather than conducting a repeat assessment for each professional involved.

As nurses, we must work together and capitalise on our collective knowledge and skills if we are to make discharge planning as effective as possible, and provide a safe and seamless transition for patients.

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