Care home bed shortage accounts for 14 per cent of delayed discharges

A lack of residential care accounted for 14 per cent of delayed discharges recorded by NHS England, a new report by the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) has said.

According to the report, I=in April there were 144,997 delayed days across NHS England organisations. Cited reasons include awaiting completion of assessment (16,908), awaiting residential home
placement or availability (19,777) and awaiting community equipment and adaptations (4,950).

Lord Rennard MBE of the BHTA says the scale of ‘bed blocking’ impacts upon almost every area of healthcare provision and obviously has a knock-on effect on waiting times causing
delayed or cancelled treatment, which can then exacerbate health conditions or slow recovery rates.

He says: “Delayed transfer of care causes distress for patients and their families and is a particular problem for many older people, especially those who are frail and may have dementia. Their conditions often deteriorate whilst in hospital and there can be significant muscle wastage due to lack of physical activity. The number of ‘delayed days’ has been reduced significantly in the last two years, but is still far higher than the figures for 2010, as the health and social care system struggles to cope with the consequences of considerable demographic changes.”

BHTA calls for changes including greater integration of health and social care systems, as well as a more holistic and structured procurement process for homecare equipment.

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