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Achieving timely simple discharge from hospital: A toolkit for the multi-disciplinary team

  • Document type:
  • Author:
    Department of Health
  • Published date:
    26 August 2004
  • Primary audience:
    Professionals,Chief Executives,Directors
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This toolkit provides best practice guidance to simple discharge from hospital. It focuses on practical steps health and social care professionals can take to improve discharge


In the latest Healthcare Commission National Patient Survey (2004) patients identify delays in the day of discharge home from hospital as a key area where standards can be improved.

This toolkit, Achieving timely 'simple' discharge from hospital, focuses on the practical steps that health and social care professionals can take to improve discharge. It supports members of the multi-disciplinary team by providing practical advice, factsheets and case studies. The toolkit has been designed and tested with practitioners in the field and is grounded in the reality of day to day practice.

At least 80% of patients discharged from hospital can be classified as simple discharges: they are discharged to their own home and have simple ongoing health care needs which can be met without complex planning. Changing the way in which discharge occurs for this large group of patients will have a major impact on patient flow and effective use of the bed capacity. It can mean the difference between a system where patients experience long delays or one where delays are minimal, with patients fully informed about when they will be able to leave hospital.

The Department of Health has also launched checklists that will contribute to more effective discharge as part of a total approach to improving bed management and flow of patients into and out of hospital.

You can use this toolkit in a number of different ways. The 10 Step Guide is central to improving hospital discharge processes and can be used to make sure that you cover the essential steps.

The case studies contain information about how others have made changes. They are pleased to share their experiences and their contact details are included. The factsheets provide practical tools to check how you are doing and to identify what else needs to be done. They include examples of key aspects of improved discharge procedures that you can adapt to your local situation.

We are sure that you will find this toolkit useful. We welcome your feedback and comments about it so that we can continue to make sure that we are providing you with appropriate support.

Sarah Mullally
Chief Nursing Officer

Professor Sir George Alberti
National Director Emergency Care

August 2004

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