NGH urges families to help relatives to return home

Northampton General Hospital is currently under considerable emergency pressure and is urging families to work with them to avoid unnecessary delays in discharging patients.

Last week the hospital admitted 826 patients as an emergency. This is the highest number of emergency admissions over a 7 day period. And this week there has been little let-up.

Deborah Needham, the hospital’s Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Executive said ‘The high level of emergency admissions is having an impact throughout the hospital. We are doing all we can to keep our patients safe. However, it is important that families and carers work with us to get their loved ones home as soon as they are medically fit for discharge.’

‘Our priority at all times is to keep our patients safe. We know it is very distressing for patients who have to remain in hospital when they are fit for discharge. Whilst we would like to devote as much time as we can to caring for all our patients, in an extremely busy acute hospital environment we are not always able to provide those who are medically fit for discharge with the type of support they really need. We know that in some cases delays in discharge can lead to a patient becoming less able and unwell, ultimately leading to a longer stay in hospital which could have been avoided.’

‘It is vitally important for our patients, both those who are ready for discharge and those who are awaiting admission, that we tackle the issue of delayed discharges. We are working very closely with our local partners to enable our patients to be discharged as quickly as possible, but the families of our patients can also help too. We want families to understand that they have a role to play in supporting us to facilitate an early discharge home, or by helping us to arrange appropriate residential and nursing care.’

Currently there are 15 patients in NGH who are medically fit for discharge but are unable to return home because their families are unwilling to take them home and provide care, or they are arguing and refusing a transfer of care to the community.

In addition families are failing to turn up for meetings with staff from the hospital and social care to discuss and agree discharge arrangements, or view a possible placement. Families are also using a relative’s hospital admission as an opportunity to go on holiday and/or make changes to their home without considering whether they will be back or building work will be complete when the relative is ready to be discharged.

There are also cases where families cannot agree amongst themselves about where their relative should be discharged to, or refusing to accept an interim placement until their preferred location becomes available.

Taken in isolation, these issues may not appear to be significant, but their combined effect is having a real impact on patients,staff and the hospital as a whole.

Posted on Tuesday 11th April 2017
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