It’s much better for a patient’s physical and mental wellbeing to leave hospital as soon as they are medically optimised for discharge. There’s lots of evidence to support this. Yet each year, nearly 350,000 patients spend more than three weeks in acute hospitals.

This is why NHS England has launched a campaign to support staff in reducing long hospital stays for their patients.
NHS England and NHS Improvement have worked with a number of partners to identify five key principles which can help ensure that patients are discharged in a safe, appropriate and timely way. The five principles relate to different stages of a patient’s stay: some to the moment of admission, some to their time on a ward and some to the end of their stay.

  1. Plan for discharge from the start
  2. Involve patients and their families in discharge decisions
  3. Establish systems and processes for frail people
  4. Embed multidisciplinary team reviews
  5. Encourage a supported ‘Home First’ approach

Underneath each key principle there are specific actions relevant to different healthcare professionals. By following these actions and thinking ‘Why not home? Why not today?’ we can reduce long stays and get patients to the best place for their recovery.

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