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22
Nov

Staff ‘obssessed’ with freeing up beds


The British Medical Journal (BMJ) has published a study that may shed some light on the interactions with frail and elderly patients being discharged from acute hospital wards and their participation in medical decision-making.

The British Medical Journal (BMJ) has published a study that may shed some light on the interactions with frail and elderly patients being discharged from acute hospital wards and their participation in medical decision-making.

Although the study was performed in hospitals in Sweden, it does highlight the potential pitfalls of hospital staff being too focussed on freeing up beds. What was immediately evident in the results was the fact that the patients were seldom invited to participate in the decision-making regarding their discharge.

The study says: “Generally, most communications regarding discharge were between the doctor and the nurse, after which the patient was simply informed about the decision.”

The discharge information was often given “in an indirect way” as if other, albeit absent, people were responsible for the decision. Interviews with the healthcare staff revealed their preoccupation with the need to free up beds: ‘thinking about discharge planning all the time’ was foremost in their minds.

The study says that this focus not only failed to fulfil the complex needs of elderly patients, it also generated feelings of frustration and guilt in the staff, and made the patients feel unwelcome.

More information about the study can be found here.

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