Hospital discharge support

As they are often experts in the home life of the person they care for, carers have valuable information that can make a discharge from hospital work well, first time.  They play an important role in making sure someone who leaves hospital stays out of hospital.  This is why we regard them as key partners in decisions before discharge, alongside health and social care professionals, and of course, the patient or cared-for person.

Being involved in discussions and decisions before the person you care for is discharged from hospital means you can get information about when and how the discharge will happen.  It also means you are clear about what support will be available to support the person you care for, and you as their carer.

The Fife Carers Centre offers support to carers and places them as equal partners in the care of the person they care for.  This successful project available at Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy and Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline.  And our aims is to expand that service to include the community hospitals and Stratheden over the coming year.  For more information about this service contact Fife Carers Centre.

Fife Carers Centre Hospital Carer Support Worker Liaison Service

Since the introduction of hospital Carer Support Worker (Sandra) in April 2017 at Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy, there has been a marked increase in the number of carers being supported in the hospital setting.  Sandra’s role is to link with the Discharge Hub to provide support for carers’ of patients who are currently undergoing treatment and discharge planning.  On a daily basis the Discharge Hub sets pathways for patients who are medically ready to leave the hospital but who may need further support or rehabilitation.

Although carers, along with the patients they care for, are included in deciding the plans for discharge, often carers also need support that focusses on them and their concerns.  Sandra has been instrumental in providing this support.  The Discharge Hub Team have received very positive feedback from carers about Sandra giving emotional support and a listening ear to carers when they have needed it the most as well as helping them to identify areas in which they are entitled to help and support.  One such carer is Jacqueline who told us:

“Having Sandra, the hospital Carer Support Worker, step into my life was like a light bulb going on in a very dark tunnel.  I’ve been coping for years with my Mum and Dad’s progressively deteriorating health. When mum was diagnosed with a terminal illness and I was already supporting my Dad with his ailing health.  I hit an all-time low. I was no longer coping.  I was just surviving but I never thought to ask for help or even consider why I would, let alone have the time or energy to arrange it.

I met Sandra at my mother’s hospital bedside and the difference, even in the first few weeks, was immeasurable.  She navigates the forms, finds out my entitlement to allowances, helps arrange carers and importantly she asked what mattered to me; she said “I hear you”.  This is powerful and way beyond just support. It’s personal.  I realised that I too was entitled to have ‘me’ time – even if it’s just a quiet cuppa.

I urge anyone who is in a carer’s role to take up the help available.  It’s the difference between struggling and having a life to live.”

Further information:  The Coalition of Carers in Scotland has developed a range of leaflets to help carers understand their rights as a carer.  One of their leaflets is specifically about your rights to be involved in decisions about the discharge from hospital affecting the person you care for.  Hospital discharge leaflet (could not be found).