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Wouldn’t anyone like to go home on the same day after a visit to A&E?

An Experience of Care Lead for Acute Care discusses why it is vital for people not to be admitted to hospital if it can be avoided:

Unlike many people in the last year none of my family have needed to visit a hospital Emergency Department. How lucky are we?!

On average 67000 people went to Emergency Departments across England every day in 2018. That’s a lot of people. Enough to fill roughly the third largest football stadium in England and have about 5000 people left without seats.

Not everyone needed to be there and many of you will know that there are other options such as pharmacists and GPs for things that aren’t so serious. But for those that did need to be there it can be a worrying time.

Not just worrying because you are there but also because many of us have busy lives. Who’s going to look after the kids, my partner, someone I look out or care for, feed the cat? These are also the things that matter most to people when they come into hospital.

My Dad is 77 and my father-in-law is 86. One lives in the South West and one in the South East, both two hours’ drive away from me. They both live alone and are independent with some support from friends and family. I know that keeping them out of hospital is very important.

Around 48% of people over 85 die within 12 months of hospital admission. Some research suggests 10 days in a hospital bed leads to 10 years’ worth of lost muscle mass in people over age 80. That’s a couple of the reasons why we’re trying to make sure you can go home on the same day as much as we possibly can, regardless of how old you are.  Most people want to get back to their lives as quickly as possible. Time is precious to us all.

We’ve made a commitment to getting rid of some of the delays that might mean you would normally need to stay in hospital.  We can only do this for some people with some problems. Some examples might be if you have stomach pain or a suspected blood clot in your leg. This is to make sure that you’re safe. You will get seen quickly, have the tests you need, diagnose the problem, start treatment and get back to the place you live faster.

You and your family will get clear information about what will happen next: you might be asked to come back for an outpatient appointment, an operation or be followed up by your GP or community team.

The NHS calls this “Same Day Emergency Care”. It’s just about making sure people who can go home on the same day aren’t admitted to hospital when they don’t need to be. Who wouldn’t want that? What a great experience that would be.

It will also mean if my Dad is really sick with his heart problem he should be able to get seen in the Emergency Department and be admitted into a hospital bed more quickly than before.

And that would make me feel a little bit happier and improve his experience and mine too.

Claire Marshall

Claire Marshall is Experience of Care Lead in the Patient Experience Team at NHS England. She is responsible for leading the experience of care work for people living with frailty, the NHS Cancer Programme and other workstreams.

Claire joined NHS England in August 2017 on a secondment when she led the national Always Events programme. Before that she was Head of Patient Experience at Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust. She has spent her 25-year career as a Physiotherapist.

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