Adass: carers should be engaged in hospital discharges

Carers are not considered or engaged in the discharge of those they care for from hospital, a report (Carers As Partners in Hospital Discharge) by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services has found.

It recommended that all statutory services appoint a carers’ lead and that the Care Quality Commission should review the involvement of carers in hospital discharges to identify areas for improvement. The regulator is considering carrying out a review during 2010-11.

Carers’ groups told a workshop, as part of the Adass study, that they were excluded by some professional attitudes and cultures and that assumptions were made about carers’ capacity to care. The report said this culture needed to change.

The report also said carers, particularly those caring for dementia patients, would benefit from dedicated workers to liaise with them through the discharge process. Hospital staff needed to learn what happened to patients once they reached the community, it added, but mechanisms for this were not available.

NHS Confederation policy director Nigel Edwards praised the report and said carers needed to be considered when planning services. “For example, those designing services should ensure the environment is suitable for patients and doesn’t make them stressed and confused,” he said.

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