Published on: 4 January 2022


Colleagues at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT) are squarely focused on ensuring as many patients as possible are able to recover at home as soon as possible – or supported to remain at home without being admitted to hospital in the first place.

Tony McDonald, who leads on this area for the Trust, described how he is encouraging everyone in all teams across the organisation, as well as colleagues across the wider health and social care system, to pull together.

He is urging everyone to ask ‘Why not home?’ and ‘Why not today?’ as the hospital gears up for one of the busiest winter periods ever experienced by the NHS, with usual winter pressures being exacerbated by the surge in Covid cases linked to the Omicron variant.

He said: “Being focused on ensuring people are discharged from hospital as soon as possible or, indeed, are supported to stay at home in the first place, is one of our year-round priorities. But as we deal with one of the most operationally challenged winter periods I have ever seen, it’s important we’re able to communicate its importance to all staff, patients and their families or carers.

“We trailed this in our ‘Home for Christmas’ initiative in December and the impact was phenomenal and really helped us cope with pressure across the festive season, ensuring we’re in the best place possible now to offer safe, personal and effective care.”

‘Why not home?...Why not today?’ will encourage people to question what is really preventing someone from going home or is there a service available that means they can get home sooner or would help them to avoid admission in the first place. 

Tony added: “We have devised a simple checklist of things to help such as ensuring each patient has a documented discharge plan with an estimated date for their return home or for their care to be transferred to a more appropriate service.  

“We will encourage patients or their loved ones to ask these questions of their health care professionals and to ensure they know what needs to happen to allow them to get home.

“We are also continuing to work extremely closely with our System Partners to ensure a collaborative and responsive approach to mitigate any potential delays in supporting discharges for our patients.”

The Trust is also urging families of people in hospital to do their bit to ensure their loved one gets home as quickly as possible. This can include doing things such as ensuring the loved one is collected as quickly as possible once their discharge has been processed, or making decisions regarding any necessary care arrangements required.