Toby Connell

I grew up in Derby and moved to Norfolk in 2010 to complete my MA in Social Work at the University of East Anglia. Since qualifying, I have worked in a number of social services teams within Norfolk County Council, predominantly working with older people and people with physical disabilities. Prior to my current role as a Quality Assurance Officer, I spent five years a social worker at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, overseeing and supporting discharge arrangements for Norfolk residents. This experience led to my interest in researching the lived experiences of older people adapting to life in the community after leaving hospital.

In my spare time I enjoy reading, going to the cinema, walking, playing and watching football. I am excited to be part of the SCRiPT project and grateful for the opportunity to develop my research skills and those of my colleagues in health and social care.

My research project

Exploring older people’s experiences of returning home from hospital on the Discharge to Assess Pathway: implications for social care practice

A qualitative study exploring older people’s experiences of receiving post-discharge support from social services using semi-structured interviews.

Achieving quicker discharges has become a national policy priority, due to pressure on NHS resources, the demands of an expanding population, and evidence that remaining in hospital unnecessarily causes health decline to accelerate (DHSC, 2022). This has led to a change in role for social care practitioners, in which care assessments (also known as “Care Act assessments”) take place after discharge, in people’s homes. As well as this resulting in reduced numbers of practitioners based in acute hospitals, changing demographics mean the number of older people needing support is expected to rise. This makes it vital to learn from their views and perspectives, as a means of learning more about the social care role in this context and how it can be used to achieve better quality outcomes. There is also a need for further research examining the effectiveness of social work interventions in reducing readmissions rates among older people. It is hoped that this project will lead to further research focusing on in more detail on specific service interventions or methods of practice.