Client/patient need at the interface between health and social services on discharge from an acute general hospital
One thousand four hundred and twenty two patients in an Acute General Hospital in Mansfield were studied over a one year period, 1989-90, in order to determine their needs for formal and informal care on discharge. The research method included a screening project for 189 patients on admission, an analysis of 1064 referrals to the Hospital Social Workers, and 169 referrals to the Hospital Discharge Scheme for Volunteer support. Patient/client needs for formal and informal care were found, and unmet needs after Hospital discharge were identified. Problems relating to formal care systems and shortage of Public Sector resources were found to cause serious difficulties for patients and Carers. The availability of Carers and lack of family members in informal care structures was a key issue. The work showed how Volunteers from the Discharge Scheme were able to contribute to the work of formal and informal Carers and ensure that safe Hospital Discharges occurred for very vulnerable people.