Guide to reducing long hospital stays

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This guide offers practical steps and tactics to support the NHS and partners to use an optimal approach to managing hospital length of stay.

Nearly 350,000 patients currently spend over three weeks in acute hospitals each year. Many are older people with reduced functional ability (frailty) or cognitive impairment. The benefits of reducing hospital bed occupancy are clear, but achieving it has proven difficult, particularly during winter.

Our guide goes beyond principles and suggests more concrete tactics to reduce unnecessarily long stays in hospital for patients. 


Focus on reducing long hospital stays – case studies

NHS trusts have created a series of case studies supporting the national ambition to reduce long hospital stays. Teams have found these case studies particularly helpful to aid their improvement approach and to use at conferences, team meetings and during training sessions. Please feel free to share these case studies with colleagues across your own areas and among your wider networks.

Share your improvement stories and resources with colleagues across the NHS by submitting them to our Improvement Hub.


Focus on reducing long hospital stays – videos

Long stay Wednesday

Liz Sargeant – Emergency Care Intensive Support Team (ECIST) Clinical Lead Health and Social Care Integration – describes how the #LongStayWednesday approach can reduce length of stay for patients and improve outcomes at the 'Thinking differently to improve flow: understanding risk and what matters to the patient' conference in Manchester.

Home first – supporting patient choice

A patient story about improving emergency patient flow, implementing a 'home first' mindset and principles. One of a series of videos to support the 'Good practice guide: Focus on improving patient flow' produced by ECIST with the support of Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust.

Embracing risk; enabling choice to support patients to return #homefirst

A patient story about improving emergency patient flow using balanced risk assessments considering patients' choice. One of a series of videos to support the 'Good practice guide: Focus on improving patient flow' produced by ECIST with the support of Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust.

Frailty – Supporting improving patient flow

One of a series of videos to support the 'Good practice guide: Focus on improving patient flow' produced by ECIST, with the support of North Tees and Hartlepool Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. This video focuses on improving patient flow for older people with frailty.

Focus on reducing long hospital stays — webinars

Related content

Find out more

For the latest improvements related to the Good practice guide: Focus on improving patient flow, you can follow ECIST on TwitterFacebook and YouTube.

You can also follow these hashtags on Twitter for highlights of the latest achievements across the country:

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