Elderly stuck in hospital beds for eight months waiting for a nursing home
From：Telegraph View：551 Date：2014-12-30
Elderly people are being trapped in hospital beds for up to eight months after they have recovered because nursing homes places are unavailable.
One patient waited a full year to be discharged despite being well enough to leave hospital.
A further three people waited between six and 12 months and 22 patients waited between three and six months for discharge, figures released through FOI requests reveal.
While some people remained in hospital after they were better at their own request an elderly patient at West Middlesex University trust stayed in a hospital bed for 240 days – almost eight months – because a place at a nursing home was unavailable.
Another patient was stuck at a hospital run by the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust for 170 days waiting for a residential bed to become free.
The shortest single delay experienced by any trust was almost two weeks – 13 days, according to figures from 51 NHS trusts released by the Labour Party, the
In recent months levels of “bedblocking” have reached a high in England with a record number of days spent in hospital by patients who ought to have been discharged.
Amid growing concerns that the NHS has entered a crisis official figures show that in November, more than 139,658 days were accounted for by patients who should have been sent home, or to care homes, but ended up stuck in hospital.
The figure is a 20 per cent rise in just two years, from 116,169 in November 2012. In October of this year the figure topped 140,000 for the first time.
Experts say a lack of NHS staff to discharge patients and a lack of social care to help patients at home is behind the growing crisis,
According to the NHS England’s own report an “increasing trend” in the total number of delayed days is because patients are waiting for a nursing home place to become free. The number of people stuck in hospital for this reason has increased by 34 per cent since June 2014.
Patients are also getting stuck in their hospital beds because of delays in organising care for them at home, a problem which has increased by 29.6 per cent since June.
Dr Mike Smith, the Chairman of the Patients Association said: “Spending 240 days in hospital when you are already well is crazy, and it should be a wakeup call. Spending a week in an acute bed costs 2,500, if you go into a well-run nursing home it costs £700 a week, three times less.