New nursing home residents who have recently been discharged from hospital: survey of GP's and home managers' need for information
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This paper reports the results of a questionnaire survey of general practitioners' (GPs'), practice managers' and nursing home managers' opinions about the quality of discharge letters received from care. The survey was focused on patients who have to register with a new GP when they are transferred into the nursing home. The overall response rate was 86.6% of practices (n = 111), 77.9% of practice managers and 71.9% of nursing home managers. Almost all the GP respondents stated that they had encountered problems due to a lack of information about nursing home patients newly registered in their practice. The quality of this information appears to have a direct impact on patient care. GPs reported that patients have suffered mishaps (for example having investigations repeated unnecessarily) or being readmitted to hospital. In addition, GPs recount spending time seeking information that could have been made easily available. The majority of all respondents stated that the information took too long to arrive, was illegible and that there was not enough information. We conclude that the speed and quality of information received upon discharge of patients into nursing homes does not currently satisfy those charged with their subsequent care. These findings have implications for clinical governance and our paper could form the basis of a strategy to correct this failing in the NHS.
The definitive version, The Journal of Clinical Governance 2001; Volume 9, Number 2, pp. 55-58, is available online at: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/rmp/jcg
Copyright © 2001 Radcliffe Publishing
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