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New discharge suite at Norfolk hospital to reduce bed-blocking and get patients home quicker

PUBLISHED: 13:26 15 January 2019

There is a comfortable seating area where patients will wait to get discharged. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

There is a comfortable seating area where patients will wait to get discharged. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

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A new discharge suite has been opened at Norfolk's largest hospital to reduce bed-blocking and get patients home earlier in the day.

Patients at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) who are ready to leave hospital are now being directed to the new Aylsham discharge suite, where they can wait for medication, transport and make other last-minute arrangements before going home.

The new suite, located near the Jenny Lind children’s department, forms part of the hospital’s winter preparedness plan, to free up more beds in other wards and reduce instances of bed-blocking during the busiest time of the year for the NHS.

So far the new suite has seen around 28 patients a day since it opened on December 21, but this number could double by next winter.

The team at the Aylsham Suite. Picture: Victoria PertusaThe team at the Aylsham Suite. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Matron Sarah Balderstone said the discharge suite would allow patients to leave hospital earlier in the day, with the aim of getting most people away ahead of peak time between 3.30pm and 5.30pm.

She added: “I am really pleased with how well it’s going: it’s gone beyond my expectations. 
“It was always something that was talked about and it just grew from there.
“The discharge suite has its own dedicated space and dedicated staff. We haven’t had 60 patients a day yet this winter but next winter we’ll see a bigger impact.”

Staff will visit patients the night before to ensure transport arrangements and medication are prepared before they are moved to the discharge suite the following day.

Sarah Balderstone, Flow Improvement MatronSarah Balderstone, Flow Improvement Matron

On the day, they are able to wait in the lounge equipped with recliner chairs and a kitchen for breakfast and lunch, or, for those who require a stretcher, can be provided with a bed to support their ongoing recovery.

The suite has its own car park for people to be able to pick up their family or relatives more quickly without having to walk the length of the hospital.

Ms Balderstone said: “We know we have pressures during the winter period and this suite is about encouraging earlier discharge of patients.
“It’s a collaborative project with our ward teams. Our vision is to enhance patient experience and be their next step to home.”

The Aylsham Suite is open seven days a week, it will accommodate up to 28 patients at a time as they get ready to leave hospital. Picture: Victoria PertusaThe Aylsham Suite is open seven days a week, it will accommodate up to 28 patients at a time as they get ready to leave hospital. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

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