A new discharge suite is helping patients to get home from hospital faster at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.
Based near the hospital’s bridge entrance for easy access, the discharge suite provides a safe and relaxing environment away from the ward for patients to wait for their prescriptions and transport home.
The new facility helps get patients home faster as it has its own dedicated patient transport ambulance and priority access to the hospital’s main pharmacy.
It also means more hospital beds are kept free for urgent and unplanned admissions which helps to prevent potential delays and cancellations.
The discharge suite is open 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday and has the ability to see up to 300 patients a week.
Keir Rumins, clinical matron for trauma and spinal injuries, said: “It’s nice for the patients as it gets them off the ward and one step closer to going home and it helps us keep beds free for urgent admissions.
“Late afternoon to evening is our busiest time, after people have been to their GP, clinic or A&E so it’s important to get people home as early as possible on their day of discharge.”
Julie Poultney, lead nurse for discharge, said: “Patients can help us by asking staff about their planned discharge date and relatives and carers can help by being available to collect patients from as early at 10am on their day of discharge.”
Patients who cannot be picked up before 10am may be transferred to the discharge suite where there are nurses and healthcare assistants on hand to make sure everything runs smoothly. The suite is already receiving excellent feedback from patients.
Joan Riley, 85, used the discharge suite to wait for a lift home after being admitted to James Cook when she had a slight stroke.
“The discharge suite is very nice,” she said. “I’ve had lots of cups of tea which suits me! The staff, all of them here have been absolutely brilliant.”
Figures for the last three months show the trust had around 31,000 inpatient admissions at James Cook, 11,000 of these were unplanned emergencies.
Linda Smith, discharge facilitator team lead, added: “If we can free a bed up it might save another patient from having to wait. It’s about providing the right care in the right place at the right time.”
From 19 September 2016 the discharge suite will be based on ward 2.