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Housing the key to more efficient hospital discharge

A new Summer Foundation resource is the first step in finding housing and moving patients with disability along the hospital discharge pathway more efficiently.

The Housing Needs and Preferences to Support Discharge Guide and Template are for health professionals to support a person with disability to describe the housing and support they want and need so that they can be discharged to suitable housing.

By understanding a person’s housing needs and preferences, health teams can assist people with disability to exercise real choice and control over the type of housing they live in, where they live and who they live with.

The Summer Foundation’s project lead for our Housing Brokerage Service Cathy Bucolo was closely involved in the development of the resources.

People with disability have the same right as everyone else to choose where they want to live, who they want to live with and how they want to live,” Cathy said.

These resources enable discharge planners – including hospital teams, health professionals and support coordinators – to have that very important conversation with a person with disability who might be stuck in hospital because of barriers to housing.

Understanding what a person wants and needs really is the first step to being able to support them to achieve it. And health professionals have the expertise to ensure the conversation is meaningful.

While this task can feel daunting for those working in a pressured health system, the guide and template make it a structured and goal-focused process.

As one hospital occupational therapy manager said: “It ensures client-centredness and helps to direct the conversation to ensure all aspects of a patient’s housing needs and preferences are discussed.

Cathy also said the Summer Foundation has really seen that successful housing outcomes also have significant potential to reduce length of stay and hospital re-admissions.

The guide and template were developed as part of a project between the Summer Foundation and Queensland Health. The project was funded by Queensland Health.

Reviews and feedback from health professionals were overwhelmingly positive about the new resource. You can access the guide and template here.

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