We need to talk about hospital discharge failures

Nurses must speak up for older people who have bad experiences of hospital discharge, says the RCN's professional lead for care of older people
Dawne Garrett

Nurses have a duty to report incidents of poor care and speak up for older people who have bad experiences of being discharged from hospital, says Dawne Garrett.

The recent Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report on discharging older people from acute hospitals in England revealed that rising numbers of patients are remaining in hospital when they are clinically ready to go home.

PAC’s report acknowledged that these delays may increase the amount of care people need once they leave hospital. We know from National Audit Office figures that discharge delays lead to a gross cost to the NHS of about £800 million a year.

Nursing input

Nurses play a pivotal role in seamless care transfer and have ensured effective support for older people through flexible practice. We have a duty to share ideas and support developments to improve poor discharge. Intermediate care is effective


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