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Is enough being done to find the solution to bed-blocking?

Is enough being done to find the solution to bed-blocking?

Winter is very much here and with colder weather, shorter days and frosty mornings comes the inevitable rise of patients needing NHS support. The influx of people that require medical treatment and the subsequent time patients spend in hospital during this season will only add to the issue of bed-blocking, in medical organisations across the country.

Bed-blocking happens when patients are unable to leave hospital because of a lack of aftercare and support at home. It’s a serious problem experiencing a constant reoccurrence because no effective solution is being offered. In fact, over the past two years there has been a one-third increase in the number of people effected by bed-blocking.

Put in real figures, this means that more than 100,000 people had to stay in hospital over the past year because the level of support and care on offer, outside of hospital, wasn’t good enough to allow patients to go home.

The answer to bed-blocking

To overcome this, local councils are taking control and introducing their own solutions. This November, Essex Council introduced intensive care packages for people who were well enough to leave the hospital while still in need of medical support. This should make the discharge process simpler and safer, as establishing a post-hospital care plan will ensure people who need additional support can receive expert treatment when they need.

However, this is only a trial package and won’t be rolled out until January – which might be too late to deal with what Dr Mark Holland, President of the Society for Acute medicine, called the ‘perfect storm’ of conditions that will impact patient hospital care this winter.

Nevertheless, it is encouraging to see local councils like Essex and Cornwall introduce action plans to better integrate the area’s social care with health organisations and reduce delayed discharges, which is the main cause of bed-blocking.

Our solution

We believe that if people are well enough to go home, that is where they should be. That’s why we offer a homecare service alongside our work with medical facilities.

Expert homecare benefits the patient as they can recover in the comfort of their own surroundings. Care at home also benefits the NHS as it frees up valuable beds and resources, enabling them to handle urgent cases more effectively.  

By working closely with discharge staff, doctors and medical professionals that have treated the patient, homecare nurses are able to simply step in and continue the appropriate level of care, for as long as it’s needed.

A high standard of homecare is every person’s right and no one should spend any more time than they need to in hospital. Working with one of the largest council in England, our expert homecare was able to free up a significant number of beds in 2014, meaning we helped over 38 people to recover in their own homes and freed up essential NHS resources.

With spending cuts making it harder to offer the social care so desperately needed to support outpatients and winter upon us, homecare services continue to save the NHS time, resources and money required to invest elsewhere. While the NHS continues conduct various trials across the county, we’re proud to offer homecare services that are proving an effective, cost saving, reliable and patient focused solution to the issue of bed-blocking. 


Responses to this article

  1. Posted by George, 19/08/2016 11:45:59

    I am a support worker for more than ten yrs suppoing people in deed . To support them in day to day tasks

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