Figures released recently show that Bed Blocking is reaching record levels across the UK’s hospitals. Bed Blocking relates to elderly patients who may have been admitted to hospital for acute illness and are unable to dress or prepare meals by themselves. If there is no appropriate care package available at home then they must remain as a patient in the ward.
There are around 1,000 patients everyday who are unable to be discharged from hospital and therefore block access for new patients.
Bed Blocking Causes NHS Crisis
With winter fast approaching, temperatures will soon start to plummet and hospital wards will start to creak in what is already a pressure cooker situation. The situation with bed blocking is reaching such crisis levels already that Managers at Bournemouth and Christchurch hospitals are now taking a rather radical route in reducing the issue of bed blocking.
In an effort to move patients who have recovered sufficiently into a suitable care home or even back into their own homes, managers are threatening to use anti-trespassing laws on family members who refuse to help their elderly relatives move out of hospital. Once a patient is deemed well enough to be discharged and families refuse to arrange suitable accommodation, then the hospital will give families 7 days to resolve the issue or face Court with a possible £50,000 charge in legal fees.
The Chief Executive of Gloucestershire NHS Foundation Hospital Trust also pointed the finger at the failures of local care services in causing bed-blocking this week. “We’re only at the start of winter and winter in the NHS goes on until April, so four or five months of this cannot be right,” said Mr Harsent. He also stated that bed-blocking had a knock-on effect, as it forced planned surgery appointments to be cancelled and caused delays in A&E.
Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said: ‘The fact that hospitals were full to bursting over the summer will worry people about what lies ahead this winter. Social care in England is close to collapse and patients can’t be discharged home. In turn, soaring numbers are waiting on trolleys in the A&E department downstairs for a bed to become free.’
One solution that can help ease bed blocking is the implementation of telecare within a patient’s home. If a patient is deemed mentally fit to be discharged from hospital and an appropriate aftercare package is in place to assist them, then this can release the pressure of bed blocking. Often hospital discharge staff may insist on a telecare system (or careline alarm) being in place prior to the patient leaving hospital.
TeleCare24 offer a same day dispatch service to help hospitals discharge patients quickly and safely. Our Community Services Department liaises with the discharge team along with the patient’s family to ensure a pendant alarm can be delivered the following day to the patients home, allowing the patient to return home to continue their recovery. By using a careline alarm, patients can raise an alert if they are feeling unwell or require assistance.
If you work within a Discharge Team and would like to find out how Telecare24 can help you discharge patients quickly then call us on 0845 4349001 or email [email protected] All referred patients receive one month’s free use of our careline service.
If you have a relative who would like to be discharged from hospital and would benefit from a careline alarm then call 0800 180 8540.