Home care cri­sis ‘traps’ el­derly in hos­pi­tals

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Laura Don­nelly and Patrick Scott

HOS­PI­TALS are be­ing turned into long-stay in­sti­tu­tions, amid a cri­sis in so­cial care, with more than 17,000 peo­ple now stuck on wards for at least three weeks.

Of­fi­cial NHS fig­ures show that across the coun­try, bed oc­cu­pancy lev­els are al­ready ap­proach­ing 95 per cent, with 18 hos­pi­tal trusts reach­ing 100 per cent ca­pac­ity last week.

The new data – the first ever anal­y­sis of the num­bers stuck in hos­pi­tal for such pe­ri­ods – shows the num­ber of “long-stay pa­tients” al­ready ris­ing as win­ter sets in.

NHS trust chief ex­ec­u­tives said pen­sion­ers ad­mit­ted to wards with rel­a­tively minor health prob­lems were end­ing up dis­patched to care homes weeks later, be­cause they had lost so much mo­bil­ity con­fined to hos­pi­tals.

In many cases, they could have left hos­pi­tal weeks ear­lier, if only they had been given help at home, they said.

The sta­tis­tics show some NHS trusts with hun­dreds of “long-stay” pa­tients, with 500 such cases at Leeds Teach­ing Hos­pi­tals trust and 480 at Barts Health trust in Lon­don.

One un­named NHS trust chief ex­ec­u­tive said: “At any one time, I’ve got 250 beds full of peo­ple stay­ing longer than 20 days, mainly peo­ple who are el­derly,” warn­ing that far too many cases were there for lack of so­cial care.

Even an ex­tra week in hos­pi­tal for want of care at home could have dev­as­tat­ing con­se­quences, an­other said, with a pa­tient who could have lived in­de­pen­dently end­ing up in a care home.

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