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Third of people sent home too early from psychiatric care

Patients urged to seek help from GPs after discharge

Adrian O'Dowd

Wednesday, 06 December 2017

Around a third (38%) of people are being sent home from psychiatric hospitals too early with no plan in place for further mental health care, claims a survey released today.

Mental health charity Mind released details of its survey of 1,221 people who had been in hospital with mental health problems.

It also showed that as well as a third of people saying they felt they were discharged from hospital too soon, around a fifth (21%) were given no notice that they were going home even when they had been in hospital for a long time.

Mind said the immediate period after hospital discharge following a mental health crisis was critical because people were at high risk of suicide in the first week and if they were unsupported they could become unwell again and have to return to hospital.

Despite this, the survey found that 37% of people said there was no plan for further care and support, contrary to guidelines, and less than half (44%) said managing their mental health or self-care was considered in plans for leaving hospital.

Only half of people (51%) said their accommodation needs were considered in any plans, and less than a third (29%) said that money and benefits were considered

NICE guidelines state that plans should be made for people’s ongoing care from admission or as early as possible from when they go into hospital.

This includes a written plan that is put together in collaboration with the person receiving care.

However, the survey found 66% of people said they were not given a written care plan and 23% said they were unaware of any plan.

Mind has produced a booklet to help people plan for their care when they leave hospital after a mental health crisis and a briefing to show what can be done to support them.

The booklet recommends that the plan could involve the person’s GP as well as community mental health services, social care, housing provider or staff at a care home.

It also recommends that a person’s care team should inform the person’s GP of their hospital discharge and that the person should contact their GP or care team if they have further concerns about their mental health.

Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said: “It is shocking that so many people are being sent home from hospital before they feel like they are ready to leave, with no appropriate plan for the care of their mental health.

“It is a tragedy that so many people so very recently leaving the care of hospital are being left to cope alone, and are at risk of losing their lives.

“Whether you’ve been in hospital for days or for months, when you come out you need the right care and support to help you stay well. Appropriate planning while you’re in hospital is essential.”

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