Occupational therapists on acute medical wards can reduce hospital stays from 9.5 to 1 days.
The Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has adopted a ‘discharge to assess’ model. In hospital a patient’s immediate needs are assessed and further ongoing needs are assessed in the community by the Active Recovery Team; this ensures services are provided in a timely manner.
Assessments for mobility and transfers, washing and dressing, equipment, home care, rehabilitation or reablement and kitchen assessments are carried out within the home. This means occupational therapy assessments are context specific and do not delay discharge, allowing greater patient flow through the hospital.
For example, patients on a care of the elderly ward discharged home with no previous homecare increased by 119%, and their average hospital stay reduced from 9.5 days to 1 day (Barnett 2015).
Prior to ‘discharge to assess’ the average length of stay for emergency patients over 65 was 12.1 days. With the new pathway there has been a 37% increase in patients who can be discharged on their day of admission or the following day, the equivalent to two additional patient discharges every day. There has also been no increase in the readmission rate (The Health Foundation 2013).