Blog 112019 Questions To Ask Before Hospital Discharge

The bed blocking crisis in England is a serious issue, as it is preventing people from receiving the care they need at home. Bed blocking is a term used to describe when elderly or disabled people are kept in hospital beds for long periods of time, due to a lack of care options at home. This can cause immense distress for those affected and can even be life-threatening in some cases. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at how this crisis is impacting those in need of care at home and what can be done to alleviate the strain.

What is bed blocking?

Bed blocking is a phenomenon that occurs when there is an imbalance between the availability of care home beds and the number of people who require them. This creates a situation where patients are unable to leave hospital and return home, even though they have been medically discharged as ready for discharge. This can result in people being stuck in hospitals, sometimes for weeks or months, despite being fit to return home. The term ‘bed blocking’ is also sometimes referred to as delayed transfers of care (DTOC).  

Bed blocking can be caused by a lack of homecare resources and an inability to access residential care homes due to a shortage of beds or empty beds that cannot be filled. In addition, local authorities can often delay requests for funding for care home places, and this can contribute to bed blocking. The longer someone is stuck in hospital, the more likely it is that their physical and mental health will suffer, and the further away their discharge date becomes. 

How does it prevent people from receiving care? 

Bed blocking is an issue that affects many people across England and prevents them from receiving the care they need. It is caused by a shortage of beds in hospitals, resulting in a backlog of people who are ready to leave hospital but cannot be discharged due to lack of social care. This can cause delays in people receiving the care they need in their own homes, resulting in them having to remain in hospital for longer than necessary. 

Caremark, the homecare provider, states that in some cases, delays in hospital discharge can result in people missing out on vital treatments or spending more time in bed than they would otherwise have to. This can lead to other health problems such as muscle wastage, weakened bones, and depression. It is therefore vital that steps are taken to reduce delays in hospital discharge and allow people to receive the care they need in their own homes. 

One way this can be achieved is through improved communication between hospitals and local authorities. Hospitals should be made aware of patients’ care needs before they are discharged, allowing local authorities to make adequate provision for their homecare and support. Additionally, there must be sufficient resources available to ensure that homecare services are properly funded and staffed. Only then will people receive the care they need at home and be able to leave hospital in a timely manner. 

Who is affected by bed blocking? 

Bed blocking is a significant problem in England, as it prevents people from receiving the care they need at home. It is estimated that approximately 10% of hospital beds are occupied by patients who are medically fit for discharge but are unable to leave because of issues in finding suitable community care. This is often due to the long delays experienced in finding and arranging care packages through Caremark or similar agencies.  

Those who are most affected by bed blocking are elderly people and those with long-term physical and mental health conditions. Those with complex needs such as dementia and other neurological conditions are particularly vulnerable. Furthermore, people with learning difficulties, physical disabilities and sensory impairments are also affected by this issue.  

The problem of bed blocking means that not only are those who need care denied access to the services they require, but they also take up beds that could be occupied by someone more in need of medical care. This leads to further delays in hospital discharge, increasing waiting times for those seeking medical treatment. As a result, the quality of care and the overall effectiveness of the NHS can suffer.  

Ultimately, bed blocking affects all those who require health or social care services, as it prevents them from receiving timely access to care when they need it. This problem needs to be addressed urgently in order to ensure that everyone receives the care they need at the right time and place. 

How can we solve the problem of bed blocking? 

The current bed blocking crisis in England is a complex issue that will require a multi-pronged approach to adequately address. One important part of the solution is to ensure that hospital discharge processes are timely and effective. Caremark Northampton, a provider of community health and social care services, is taking action to reduce delays in discharge processes by ensuring that patients receive the right level of care once they leave hospital.  

Caremark Northampton provides comprehensive support services to help people transition back to their own homes following hospital stays. These services range from helping with personal care needs such as bathing and dressing, to assistance with meal preparation and light housekeeping. Caremark also helps patients access the right medical and social services to ensure that they can continue to receive the care they need once they are discharged from hospital.  

In addition to supporting individuals, Caremark Northampton also works closely with local hospitals to make sure that discharge processes are as smooth and efficient as possible. This includes setting up protocols for communication between hospital staff and Caremark’s support staff so that patients are quickly referred for the necessary support services after they leave hospital.  

By providing comprehensive support services and streamlining discharge processes, Caremark is helping to reduce delays in hospital discharges and ultimately reducing the prevalence of bed blocking. With the right initiatives in place, we can begin to make progress in solving the problem of bed blocking in England. 


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