NHS Dumfries & Galloway

Approach expanded to increase hospital’s patient flow

AN APPROACH aimed at helping with the discharge of patients from hospital has expanded.

The Discharge Lounge which has been running at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary has now been scaled up – helping to ensure better patient flow within the hospital.

Clinical Nurse Manager Anne Allison said: “We first introduced the Discharge Lounge at DGRI in November 2018 and are really pleased with what it has meant for improved patient flow.

“This was an innovation we had seen working well in other hospitals, and our new facility here in Dumfries and Galloway allowed us to test the approach.

“Until now, if a patient was assessed as being well enough to be discharged from hospital this would have meant them having to wait by their bed for all arrangements such as waiting for their relatives to finish work to come and pick them up or transport home to be put in place.

“This had a knock-on effect, because although the patient was fit to go it effectively reduced the numbers of available beds for new patients being admitted.

“We’re dealing with a high volume of patients every week, so anything that can help improve flow through the hospital is definitely an advantage to our work and the patients we’re looking after.”

The Discharge Lounge at DGRI was created in an area adjacent to the main entrance of the hospital. It features a selection of high back chairs, recliners and beds, has toilet facilities, and with beverages and food available throughout the day.

Dedicated nursing staff are based in the Discharge Lounge throughout the day to help co-ordinate patient requirements. The location also provides a point where patients can collect medicines before departure.

Many patients have commented on the improved experience, and comments collected as part of the continual evaluation have included: “Lovely location,” “Discharge experience was 10/10,” “I think the discharge lounge is a great idea.”

Anne Allison said: “People may not have considered this when so much is focused on their health, but the minute a patient is admitted to hospital we’re already planning their departure.

“During the course of treatment, assessments are taking place around the patients’ needs and conversations are held with family and carers about arrangements for their departure. All of this is to ensure that when a patient is ready to leave, they do so in a way that allows the system to treat the next patient being admitted – so they can enjoy the same benefit of treatment and care.

“Similar to a hotel, we aim to discharge all patients who no longer need hospital care by midday or as early as possible. At this point, they will move from a clinical ward to the Discharge Lounge where they will await any final discharge arrangements.

“Patients are asked to help ensure good flow in the hospital by ensuring they have necessary arrangements for leaving hospital including transport, clothes and shoes, and that their home is stocked with food and any medication they may need.”

Anyone seeking more information is invited to contact the Discharge Lounge Team by phoning 01387 246246.


Left to right: Friendly staff at the Discharge Lounge include Arlene Horsburgh, Rebecca Cartwright and Christine Hunter