HSE Delayed Discharges Implementation Group will mean better and safer outcomes for patients
Following the publication of the Report of the Independent Expert Review of Delayed Discharges the Minister with responsibility for Mental Health and Older People Jim Daly requested that the HSE establish an appropriate multi-disciplinary structure to progress implementation of the recommendations.
On foot of his request the HSE has established an Implementation Group, co-chaired by officials representing the National Directors of Acute and Community Operations. The Minister attended the Group’s first meeting earlier this month. This Group will identify changes that can be made within the next six months and those that can be implemented over eighteen months. The Minister said: ‘’It is vital that we begin to address the underlying issues identified in the review and while I acknowledge change is difficult these changes will lead to better and safer outcomes.’’
Minister Daly continued: “We need to minimise the delays in moving patients to the most appropriate setting, reduce hospital bed days lost and better address patient needs. Our ambition is to develop an efficient information-led service which caters to the real needs of patients. Illness is a traumatic time for patients and families; they need certainty and best practice. This has the potential to really impact on our ongoing trolley difficulties by addressing our delayed discharges problem through simple good governance. A more efficient and knowledge-based health service will lead to better outcomes for patients.”
Note for Editors
The Independent Expert Review of Delayed Discharges review recognised that delayed discharges or transfers of care are caused by a multitude of factors and it made nine recommendations which include the development of a national policy to provide for a more consistent approach to recording delayed discharges, strengthening data collection, standardising definitions and ensuring consistent discharge guidelines.
Below is a summary of the recommendations.
1. Develop a national policy to provide a clear definition and guidelines for categorising DDs and replace the term “Delayed Discharge” by “Delayed Transfer of Care”
2. Take steps to improve data quality and extend the DD dataset to non-acute healthcare settings and shift the focus of DD reporting to bed days lost and look at other methods of measuring the number of DDs e.g. Netherlands, England, and Scotland
3. Set up a Joint Planning Forum between acute hospitals and community services to develop a shared view of demand and capacity needs and strategic responses to gaps in service
4. Review roles and responsibilities to assess the support for patients and their families on the NHSS process and clarify accountability lines of stakeholders responsible for managing DDs
5. Undertake an external data audit to review quality compliance, improve data quality and visibility and increase confidence in the data available
6. Launch public health campaign to raise awareness that patients who are discharged without delay have better outcomes and establish a consistent approach and timed pathway for communicating with families (next of kin) to minimise potential delays
7. Establish multi-disciplinary teams to conduct single discharge assessments. These teams should be supported by staff both in the acute healthcare setting and in the community
8. Encourage information sharing between Hospital Groups and CHOs on bed availability and patients’ status and adopt an integrated ICT system, capturing supply and demand in both acute and non-acute healthcare settings
9. Establish early discharge pathways to prevent admissions and reduce delayed discharges, which in turn will enable assessment of care needs in the patient’s home or alternative care setting.