Carers’ experiences of hospital discharge

New research from national charity Carers UK shows the NHS Discharge to Assess model, which sees patients’ ongoing care needs assessed only after they have left hospital, is failing to include family carers in the discharge process and putting patients’ health at risk.

A survey by the charity of nearly 2,000 people in England providing high levels of unpaid care for older, disabled or seriously ill relatives found a quarter (25%) had experienced hospital discharge. It found that the majority were not involved, consulted or given the right information to care safely when their loved ones were discharged from hospital.

The research reveals the devastating impact on carers left unsupported and floundering to meet the changed needs of relatives coming out of hospital, taking on unacceptable levels of care which in some cases were unsafe.

The key findings of the research show:

  • More than half of carers (56%) providing significant care were not involved in decisions about hospital discharge
  • Two thirds (66%) did not feel listened to about their willingness and ability to care
  • A majority (61%) were not given enough information and advice to care safely and well
  • Most carers (60%) said insufficient support was provided to protect the health and wellbeing of the patient or their own health
  • 82% of respondents said they had not received a carer’s assessment.