Posted on March 07, 2016

Bed-blocking could be solved by care homes

The problem of bed-blocking could be resolved if the NHS pays care homes to take in patients who are ready to be discharged, according to a new report from think tank ResPublica. One of the problems with waiting times in A&E and other departments is that there are thousands of elderly patients in hospitals every day who are not able to leave hospital as care has not been arranged for their return home. However, the report, which was partly funded by care home companies, has said that the ideal solution is for these patients to be moved into care homes. ResPublica has said that this would be a solution that makes more hospital beds available and will give the care sector the investment that it needs. It is estimated that each day, there are 4,300 patients who are in hospital despite being ready to leave. This accounts for 4% of all the beds available, and it is thought that this figure could be increase by 1,000 within five years. The cost of this bed-blocking could be £3.3 billion over the next five years. ResPublica is suggesting that this money is diverted to care homes to ease the problems. The patients would only be in care home accommodation temporarily while other care arrangements are made. The idea is referred to as step-down care" and is already in use in a number of areas. Getting health and social care sectors to integrate more closely will be supported by the Better Care Fund."
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