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Care Quality Commission highlights improvements needed in hospital discharge for carers in England

13 June 2018

According to a new Inpatient Survey from England's health and care regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), family and friends who are very likely to be caring for someone are not always likely to be involved, consulted or given the right information.  In the survey of inpatients carried out in July 2017, whilst 59% of respondents to the survey said that staff ‘completely’ took into account their family or home situation when planning their discharge, 19% said that staff did not take family or home situation into account.   Almost half (49%) of survey respondents thought doctors or nurses ‘definitely’ gave their family, friend, or carer all the information they needed to care for them. However, 25% thought this did not happen.

In the CQC report, of those respondents who went home or stayed with family or friends after discharge, 53% thought they ‘definitely’ got the support they needed from health and social care professionals to help recover and manage their condition. However, 22% did not get this support but believed that this would have been useful.

Carers UK is concerned about these figures - carers, family and friends are clearly not being identified early or being given the right information and the right support.  This is corroborated by our work and direct evidence with carers.   In our State of Caring 2017 survey published the same year, but the fieldwork taking place a few months earlier, we asked carers providing significant amounts of care about their experiences of care.   58% of those with experience of hospital discharge in the previous year said that they were either not consulted about the discharge (23%) or were consulted but only at the last minute (35%).  Many carers providing care for someone who had been discharged from hospital in the last year said they were discharged too early, with 23% stating that the person they care for was not ready to come home and 17% saying the support was not available for them to be at home.

Emily Holzhausen OBE, Director of Policy and Public Affairs said:

“Although these are disturbing figures, they are not a surprise given our State of Caring 2017 research into carers’ experiences.  It is vital to ensure that, if family and friends are to care for relatives, the home situation is clearly considered. Carers must be involved and consulted with the right information, advice and support provided.  Stories from carers demonstrate only too well the need to get this right and to avoid unnecessary readmissions back into hospital, as well as the impact to their own health and wellbeing.  

The report from CQC is incredibly useful because it pinpoints where we need to see change, including each individual Trust so that action can be clearly targeted.  This is a helpful message during Carers Week, when we are not only recognising and celebrating the role of unpaid caring in our society, but we are also encouraging health and care organisations to take action to ensure that carers’ health and wellbeing is improved.”


Carers UK and the CQC

Carers UK’s research in The Quality of Care 2014 demonstrated that many individuals were unaware of where to go to complain or raise concerns about care services, some wanted anonymity, and some raised concerns with providers and felt that no action was taken. The Care Quality Commission and Carers UK have teamed up to raise awareness of its role in monitoring the quality of care and seeking feedback as part of both the inspection regime and in cases of very high concern, immediate action.

The Care Quality Commission and Carers UK have produced a jointly branded leaflet to gather feedback from carers, anonymously, if they wished, through our Adviceline, local networks, membership, and volunteer network.

For more information on care standards and the role of the CQC:

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