Nick Sanderson, (above) CEO of Audley Retirement Villages has called for the government to explore better housing and care options for older people following the release of statistics from NHS England showing the extent of the bed blocking crisis in hospitals.
The NHS says more than 6,000 elderly people are trapped needlessly in hospital beds each month as nursing homes, families and social services fail to provide adequate care. The health service is facing its worst bed-blocking crisis at a cost of nearly £6 billion a year, official figures show.
“It shouldn’t come as a surprise to see such figures,” said Mr Sanderson. “Yes, there is a vital need to address the level of care and housing available for the older generation once they are able to leave hospital, but delaying these visits in the first place will go a long way to easing the pressure not just for elderly people but for the country as a whole.
“The government should look at the facts – 86% of the older generation are still living in a family sized home which is often unsuitable to their changing needs, yet 99% don’t want to enter a care home. What is needed are specialist housing options for older people, which offer high quality, flexible care that can be implemented as and when required, preparing people for changes to their health.
“This may even allow early discharge as patients are returning to a purpose-built home, with the right support to enable early rehabilitation if needed. Further down the line, this will certainly minimise costly intervention and ease the strain on beds in the first place.”