New projects have been launched at Lincoln County Hospital to help get medically fit patients back into their own homes as soon as possible.
At any time, hospitals around the country will have dozens of patients who are medically fit to leave hospital, but for whatever reason there is a delay in their discharge. This winter we are seeing a large number of very poorly and sick patients at our hospitals and to help maintain flow we have joined forces with LCHS and the British Red Cross to look at new ways to help with this.
British Red Cross
Following a successful pilot programme in Ulster, the charity is spending three months at several hospitals across the country, including Lincoln County Hospital, running an assisted discharge service. They are able to drive patients home once they have been discharged and can spend a little bit of time with them to make sure the heating is on and that they have all the shopping they need. Patients also received a follow-up call or visit 24 hours after they have been discharged from the hospital. In the first month 42 patients were taken home using the service.
LCHS and Digby ward
Patients who are medically fit for discharge and no longer need consultant-led care can sometimes spend longer on our wards than they need to while packages of care are organised for them. To help tackle this patients are now able to be discharged to LCHS who are running a ‘step-down’ ward in the hospital. These patients will no longer be review by a doctor every day. However, therapies and other services are still available to them while final arrangements are made for them to return home or to go to a safe and suitable place in the community. If their condition deteriorates then they will have the support of all of the usual hospital teams. Initially, 12 beds have been opened on Digby ward to accommodate the LCHS service, but there is the capacity to increase this if required.
This is all part of our long term vision of working in partnership with other organisations in the best interests of our patients. We know we cannot do everything on our own and like many trusts across the country we are embracing support from other organisations.