Changes to the hospital discharge process due to coronavirus
This page was last updated on 25th September 2020 – please consult government guidelines for the most up-to-date information.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, there have been some changes to how and when the NHS are discharging people from hospital.
Below you can find clear advice on what the current discharge processes are and how this may impact you or your loved one, however this can change quickly due to the outbreak and may vary slightly depending on where you are in the UK – therefore our advice is always to consult with the hospital directly should you have any questions or concerns.
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Hospital Discharge Process FAQ:
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Are hospitals still discharging patients from hospitals early?
The NHS is seeking to actively discharge patients as soon as it is clinically safe to do so, and should additional care or support be required following discharge, the patient’s health team would arrange this.
How will I know if the NHS plan to discharge my relative from hospital early?
Many hospitals at this time are still not allowing visitors, or have visitor restrictions in place. This may make it difficult for you to speak with medical professionals regarding the care of your loved one. However, the patient will be kept up-to-date with their care plan and can communicate this to you via phone or video call.
Should they not be able to do this themselves, a member of their health team will contact you directly to discuss discharge plans, including travel arrangements and if any additional care or support would be required.
How long will it take to discharge my relative from hospital?
Once a patient has been deemed clinically safe to be discharged, the aim will be to transfer them from the ward to a designated discharge area within one hour. From this point the discharge should happen as soon as possible, normally within 2 hours.
We therefore recommend that you stay in touch with your loved one or their medical team whilst they are in hospital and be prepared for a quick discharge.
What care is available after being discharged from hospital early?
Many people who are discharged from hospital still require some additional care and support. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this care will be organised on behalf of the patient and their family by a care coordinator.
The care offered will generally be within the patient’s own home. For those patients whose needs are too great to return to their own home, a suitable rehabilitation bed or care home will be arranged.
Who will pay for additional care if it is needed following early hospital discharge?
In August 2020, the government announced a £588 million fund to support people being discharged from hospital.
This is intended to provide care and support for people in their own homes or in care homes for six weeks after discharge.
This funding will become available from 1 September and will be available until 31 March 2021 and is being introduced to help the NHS and social care to cope with a possible second wave of COVID-19 during the winter months.
To learn more about this we recommend you speak directly to your care coordinator when in hospital.
Can my elderly relative move into a care home after being discharged from hospital?
Yes. Whilst care homes will not be forced to admit residents who have been in hospital, either with or previously diagnosed with coronavirus, many will be happy to do so.
Care homes and their staff will all be following very strict guidelines on social distancing and shielding to ensure the health and safety of all residents and staff, whilst providing the very best care possible.
Any new resident, who is entering the home either from hospital or their own home, will be required to self isolate in their own room for 14 days.
Is there enough social care available to help look after all the patients being discharged from hospital early?
While several care providers have been stretched during the COVID-19 outbreak, Care Sourcer is working closely with them to understand their capacity. We are confident that there is a significant volume of care available throughout the UK.
Can elderly patients be discharged from hospital with a mild case of coronavirus?
It is possible that if someone has a mild case of coronavirus, or is showing symptoms, they may be discharged from hospitals to enable the NHS to focus care on those who have greater needs. Upon discharge it will be asked that these patients self isolate for a period of 14 days.