We have been asked to share an exciting opportunity for unpaid carers to help shape hospital discharge experiences for themselves and the person they care for

The researchers are keen to ensure that carers from a wide range of backgrounds and geographical areas are part of an exciting piece of research work aimed at helping to help shape what a ‘good’ experience of the hospital discharge process should look like for carers. they need to hear YOUR voice, YOUR experiences, and challenges YOU have experienced around the discharge of the person you care/cared for.

This research and development project, led by Northumbria University is happening this summer to help improve the way unpaid carers in the North East and Yorkshire are supported when the person they care for is being discharged from hospital. This will involve interviews with clinical and non-clinical staff who make decisions and support the discharge process, but most importantly unpaid carers will be involved at every step of the project.

Nationally, Carers UK published a report in September 2021 highlighting the poor experiences that carers have reported. We want to understand carers experiences in our local area through obtaining feedback from carers themselves, carers support organisations and local Healthwatch teams.

The research team will also speak to a sample of NHS acute hospital Trusts and unpaid carers from across the region, asking them what they think the issues are, and what actions are required to improve this experience for carers.

The outcome of the work will be a good practice guide that can be used in every hospital across our region, which sets out a carer led, evidence-based approach to the actions that should be taken to improve the experience for our unpaid carers.

Kelly Coulter, Senior Manager at NHS England and Improvement, lead on Personalised Care for the North East & Yorkshire and the project sponsor has these very moving words of encouragement. “Along with being the project sponsor on this work on behalf of NHSE/I, I also grew up as a young carer to my older sister who has complex needs, and over the years she has required unplanned emergency admissions to hospital. At a very distressing time for us as a family, we often felt our views were not being considered and that we were passive to the process of Suzanne being admitted. At no point did anyone take the time to ask my mum or myself “What matters to you?” and “How can we best support you during this challenging time?”  Taking the time to recognise carers during a stay in hospital is so vital to ensure we are central to the discussions around what happens next when the person we love and care for is going to come home, and to highlight opportunities to link us up with carers organisations or social prescribing activities to ensure we are aware of our rights and our own health and wellbeing is being supported”.

“If you have experienced discharge from any of the following eight hospital trusts then please join us and share your experiences of discharge as an unpaid carer, both the good & the bad, in order to help shape improved discharge support for all carers in the future.”

  • Airedale
  • Barnsley
  • Bradford
  • Hull
  • North Cumbria
  • North Lincolnshire & Goole
  • North Tees & Hartlepool
  • Rotherham

Carers will be reimbursed for their expenses and time in supporting this work. The North East and Yorkshire Regional Personalised Care Team at NHS England are funding the project.

If you would like to know more, please contact Mr. Mitchell Hogg, a member of the research team, at mitchell.j.hogg@northumbria.ac.uk.