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Delayed discharges within community hospitals: A qualitative study investigating the perspectives of frontline health and social care professionals

Lynne Mann (Quality and Efficiency Support Team (QuEST), Scottish Government, Edinburgh, UK) (NHS Dumfries and Galloway, Dumfries, UK) (Edinburgh University, Edinburgh, UK)

Journal of Integrated Care

ISSN: 1476-9018

Article publication date: 17 October 2016

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand the perspectives of frontline health and social care professionals in relation to delays in discharge from community hospitals.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative approach was taken, using semi-structured interviews and non-participant observation, within three community hospitals in NHS Scotland. In total, 12 frontline health and social care professionals were interviewed and observation of the multi-disciplinary team meeting was completed. Thematic content analysis was used to analyse the data produced.

Findings

The key findings were delayed discharge as an issue, lack of resources and capacity, difficulties in the relationship between acute and community health staff, silo working between health and social care, conflicting pressures on staff, and influence over services and external factors. There were perceived different ways of working within acute health, community health and social work, which were suggested to reduce efficiency, cause tension and ultimately result in delays. All professionals perceived an inability to influence any of the factors causing delays in discharge.

Practical implications

The internal issues regarding inter-professional working could potentially damage integration, indicating a need to teach collaborative team skills as well as quality improvement training to support staff to challenge and change current ways of working.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the evidence base of community hospitals. There are implications for both health and social care policy.

Keywords

Citation

Mann, L. (2016), "Delayed discharges within community hospitals: A qualitative study investigating the perspectives of frontline health and social care professionals", Journal of Integrated Care, Vol. 24 No. 5/6, pp. 260-270. https://doi.org/10.1108/JICA-06-2016-0023

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited