Both Hull and Chesterfield systems are based on engaging in proactive planning for discharge as soon as a patient is admitted. Central to this is the setting of an expected date of discharge, together with the selection of an appropriate discharge pathway for each patient. This pathway determines what activities need to be completed before the patient can be discharged. The multi-disciplinary teams (MDTs) delivering the agreed plan of discharge use the patient flow system to monitor and update the status of the discharge activities to ensure that everyone has a clear picture of the progress being made towards the anticipated discharge. The MDT's include social workers, intermediate care and rehabilitation providers in the community, pharmacy, therapists, hospital discharge co-ordinators and the ward medical teams.
By providing a clear, up-to-date view of all outstanding discharge tasks, staff work lists are maintained to ensure that patient intervention is correctly prioritised and that any issues which might result in a delayed discharge are addressed early in a patient's stay. When discharges are delayed, hospital wide views are used to analyse and manage the reasons the delay.
Hull have eliminated repetitive paper based data entry, by providing a single electronic point of capture for patient information, thus reducing the administration involved in the discharge process. Developing the patient flow system to improve discharge has provided staff with a focus for clearly understanding and improving current processes. Communication and collaboration within the MDT's has also improved since deploying the changes.
In addition to contributing to a shorter length of stay, patients and their relatives also benefit from a clearer picture of what progress is being made towards the expected date of departure.