Northampton General Hospital say medically-fit patients are blocking beds because families are arguing over transfer of care, failing to turn up to meetings and even going on holiday rather than helping their loved ones leave hospital.
They have begged families and carers to 'work with us' and avoid unnecessary delays in discharging patients.
The appeal comes after a record 826 patients were admitted as an emergency to the 765-bed hospital two weeks ago, with 'little let-up' since then.
Deborah Needham, the hospital’s Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Executive, said: "We want families to understand that they have a role to play in supporting us to facilitate an early discharge home.
"We know it is very distressing for patients who have to remain in hospital when they are fit for discharge.
"The high level of emergency admissions is having an impact throughout the hospital. We are doing all we can to keep our patients safe. However, it is important that families and carers work with us to get their loved ones home as soon as they are medically fit for discharge."
Currently, there are 15 patients ready to leave Northampton General Hospital but are unable to return home because their families are unwilling to take them home and provide care, or they are arguing and refusing a transfer of care.
But families are also using a relative's hospital admission as an opportunity to go on holiday or make changes to their home, without considering whether they will be back in time or if the building work will be complete when the patient is ready to be discharged.
Other are failing to attend meetings to discuss discharge options, arguing over where their relative should be discharged to or refusing to take them in until a preferred location becomes available.
Deborah Needham said: "It is vitally important for our patients, both those who are ready for discharge and those who are awaiting admission, that we tackle the issue of delayed discharges. We are working very closely with our local partners to enable our patients to be discharged as quickly as possible, but the families of our patients can also help too.
"We know that in some cases delays in discharge can lead to a patient becoming less able and unwell, ultimately leading to a longer stay in hospital which could have been avoided.
"Whilst we would like to devote as much time as we can to caring for all our patients, in an extremely busy acute hospital environment we are not always able to provide those who are medically fit for discharge with the type of support they really need."