A NEW system to free up beds and make leaving hospital more comfortable is to be introduced this month.
A discharge lounge is due to open in the last week of this month, which St Mary’s bosses hope will make the transition from hospital to home more comfortable.
The lounge is be housed in Newchurch ward, which is being refurbished.
Most patients are discharged in the afternoon, but under the new system patients due to be discharged will be able to wait in the lounge from 9am, where they would be able to continue to receive care, said a spokeswoman.
Donna Collins, Associate Director, Acute Clinical Directorate, said "It is very important that we are able to free up beds in acute wards for new admissions and at the same time ensure that those patients being discharged are looked after in a comfortable environment.
"We appreciate that many patients need to wait until later in the day for a relative to collect them and so by opening this larger facility in Newchurch ward, we are able to provide a comfortable environment for the patient being discharged but at the same time free up acute beds for new admissions.
"By introducing this, we also aim to improve our patients experience as currently they are encountering moves across wards late at night when beds become available. No patient is discharged from their acute ward unless clinically safe to do so."
The spokeswoman added: "Facilities in the discharge lounge will include beds for patients who will be transferring to a nursing or residential home.
"On admission to hospital, patients will receive a 'Leaving Hospital’ leaflet which will be explained to them and plans will be put in place to ensure a smooth and timely transition from hospital to home at the end of their stay. We expect patients to be fully involved in planning their discharge, together with a relative, carer or friend."