'Out of Hospital': a scoping study of services for carers of people being discharged from hospital

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Successive government policies have highlighted the need to inform and involve carers fully in the hospital discharge process. However, some research suggests that many carers feel insufficiently involved and unsupported in this process. This paper summarises a scoping review to identify what the UK literature tells us about the service provision for carers, and its effectiveness, around the time of hospital discharge of the care recipient, and also describes a mapping exercise of the work currently being done by Princess Royal Trust for Carers Centres in England to support carers around the time of hospital discharge. The restriction to UK literature was dictated by the nature of the project; a modest review carried out for a UK-based voluntary sector organization. Fifty-three documents were reviewed, of which 19 papers (representing 17 studies) were reporting on primary research. As only five of these studies actually involved an intervention, it appears there is very little research from the UK which evaluates specific interventions to support carers around the time of hospital discharge of the care recipient. While the mapping exercise showed that in some areas there are services and/or initiatives in place which have been designed to improve the process of discharge for carers, in many places there is still a gap between what policy and research suggest should happen and what actually happens to carers at this time. Even where services and initiatives to support carers through the discharge process exist, there is only limited evidence from research or evaluation to demonstrate their impact on the carer's experience. Further research, both quantitative and qualitative, is required to address these areas and enable commissioners, providers and carers' organizations to work together towards a service in which patients and carers alike receive the support and help they need at this significant time of transition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-349
Number of pages15
JournalHealth & social care in the community
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009


  • carer
  • discharge
  • hospital
  • mapping exercise
  • scoping review
  • services
  • HOME

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