A report conducted by the Professional Record Standards Body (PRSB) has found that care homes need better digital information sharing following hospital discharge.
According to the survey of more than 260 care home respondents, care home workers needed better handovers to care homes, better planning by hospitals ahead of discharge, higher quality discharge summary information and appropriate discharge times for their service users.
Ian Turner, PRSB advisory board member and chair of the Registered Nursing Home Association, said: “For those living in care homes, hospital visits and other temporary changes to care can be unsettling”.
“By ensuring that correct care and medication information is shared between relevant professionals, we can make the process of transfer safer and more comfortable for the service user.”
The survey, commissioned by NHS Digital, found that care homes reported differences in receipt of discharge summaries, with 27% not receiving summaries.
“Of the care homes receiving discharge summaries, nine in 10 still get paper records, though two-thirds of those interviewed said they had their own digital processes in place”, a PRSB spokeswoman said.
“The majority of respondents, (77%) felt that digital communication systems would help them with hospital discharge summaries.”
The spokeswoman said that while care homes are increasingly using technology and have developed digital processes internally for managing care, these are not connected to the wider health and social care system.
“The PRSB believes the widespread use of the e-discharge summary, published in 2015 and recently enhanced, could help care homes to get the information they need to provide better care.”
Findings from the report will be used by NHS Digital’s Social Care Programme which aims to simplify and standardise the information that flows to care homes from other providers of health and care when patients are discharged from hospital.
A NHS Digital spokeswoman said in a statement: “We are always exploring ways for the NHS and the social care sector to work together in a more integrated and seamless manner”.
“Though still in the early stages of this project, this PRSB report outlines some of the many opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.”
“We will continue talking to the NHS and social care workers about the technology and communications which will help them to work more efficiently by freeing up time for patient care.”
The PRSB is expecting to provide further support to the programme as it progresses.
The PRSB develops standards for digital health and care records, based on evidence agreed by patients and professionals. It promotes the widespread adoption of standards in the health and social care system to facilitate safe and efficient care.