The discharge team works with the wards and the patient flow team across the Trust to ease pressures elsewhere in the hospital to help patients get where they need to go and help patients get home.
The discharge lounge consists of a small team of nurses, a pharmacy technician, discharge coordinators, a deputy sister and health care assistants.
Nicola Wood, deputy sister said “My role as deputy sister is to educate staff around the hospital about the importance of the lounge, what we can do to help early discharges but also help ease pressures elsewhere.
“During my 6 years as a qualified nurse, I have worked in surgery, A&E and PIU (programmed investigation unit) and my new role as a junior sister can be challenging but I am enjoying working as part of an incredible team who all work together to relieve pressures across the Trust.
“My time in A&E has given me the background knowledge to understand the importance of patient flow but also making patient safety and care a priority.
“We have created a nice relaxing environment in the discharge lounge enhancing patient experience so patients can feel safe whilst waiting for medication and transport.”
A discharge lounge staff nurse said “The role of the nurse oversees the running of the department. We can help change dressings, check and administer medication, attend bed management meetings, liaise with staff members to encourage discharge and speak with patients’ families.
“I believe the discharge lounge gives the patients a final chance to help alleviate worries or concerns regarding going home.
“We offer a comfortable sitting area where patients can chat with each other. Staff are also available to support and answer questions patients may have.
“All the work we do ensures patients are discharged home safely; we also work closely with QE Facilities transport to help patients get home who may not have family close by.”
Vicky Garner pharmacy technician said, “I am based within the discharge lounge to do the final clinical and accuracy checks of discharge prescriptions. I check for medication duplication, errors and missing medication”.
“I also liaise with the pharmacy department, ward staff, patients and their families to ensure any medication errors are rectified before they go home as well as counsel patients on changes or new medication before they go home. I must ensure patient social situations is appropriate for safe administration which includes liaising with carers, families, care homes and district nurses”.
“I believe pharmacy in the discharge lounge provides that vital final check which ensures a safe discharge for patients, especially when the hospital is facing pressures. It is also a good place to speak to patients in a more relaxed setting and ensure they are comfortable with their medications when they return home.”
Healthcare assistants within the discharge lounge provide support to the rest of the team, patients and their families and coordinate the running of the lounge.
Healthcare assistant Judith Newham said, “Our role is to take handovers from wards and liaise with ambulance control and allocate jobs to the crew for patients who are not able to get home safely.
“We have a number of seating areas, reclining chairs and TV to watch. We also have teas and coffees and sandwiches and during lunchtime, we are able to offer soup and sandwiches as well as hot meals in the evening.
“Our role as healthcare assistants and discharge coordinators is to ensure we work closely with all the staff within the lounge and beyond to resolve problems and ensure patient safety is at the forefront of priorities.
“Getting patients home is important and we want to make sure patients leave safe and happy. For patients who don’t have family nearby, we also offer Feeding Family boxes for patients to take home. These boxes include three days’ worth of food and snacks to help them settle in.
“Our aim is for all patients to leave the hospital via the discharge lounge with the exception of end-of-life patients and some dementia patients.”
See what goes on in the discharge lounge on YouTube.