The challenge

Hospital discharge is a complex process that involves multiple stakeholders and requires careful planning and coordination to ensure that patients receive the care and support they need. Improving discharge has been identified by NHS England as a key priority in recovering productivity and improving whole system flow.

London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust has been working to improve patient experience, and reduce the number of days waiting for discharge, by creating greater consistency and improved understanding of discharge across health and social care. As part of this, they reviewed and updated the discharge processes for Northwick Park and Ealing Hospitals, and have worked with discharge teams to refine these processes. 

While the refreshed discharge process had been successfully adopted by discharge teams, the Trust had found the wider staff involved in the discharge process were not following the right process, leading to challenges for patients, families and discharge teams. There was a lack of clarity around roles and responsibilities in the process, and patients were being given inaccurate information about their discharge journey.

Our approach 

We supported the Trust to develop interactive hospital discharge training across its two hospitals. The goal of the training was to reach as many Multidisciplinary teams (MDT) members as possible, giving them the right tools and understanding to improve how they plan, coordinate, and safely discharge their patients in an integrated way.  We delivered 16 training sessions across the two hospital sites to around 200 MDT members.  

As a supporting resource, we collaborated with members of the Integrated Discharge Team to develop a comprehensive reference pack to be provided to each ward in paper copy. 

Using the PPL Catalyst approach, we worked collaboratively with the Trust to re-develop the existing training materials; the aim was to maintain the operationally focused detail needed for front-line staff, whilst maximising engagement. To do this, we used appreciative inquiry methods to ensure information was, first and foremost, grounded in personal experience and as interactive and collaborative as possible. The added benefit of this it provided opportunities for staff from different wards and different disciplines to work together and complete tasks as one team, just as they do when discharging patients as an integrated team. 

Our impact

As well as being largest training the Trust had ever undertaken, it brought together a range of roles, disciplines, and sectors for the first time to learn about how ward staff could support safe and effective discharge. It also provided a catalyst for the launch of D2A onto their referrals system, which is already having a positive impact on discharge.

Huge thanks for all your support and efforts to deliver this training and complete the resource pack. Super pleased with the outcome and it was a pleasure to work with PPL again.

Natasha Harmsworth-Blyth, Head of Discharge Operations, London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust