El­derly care is ‘big­gest chal­lenge’

Some 80% of beds oc­cu­pied by just 20% of the pop­u­la­tion

Hinckley Times - - TRAVEL TIMES - ORTON hinck­ley­[email protected]­plc.com

SOME 80 per cent of beds at Le­ices­ter’s hos­pi­tals were oc­cu­pied by just 20 per cent of the local pop­u­la­tion last win­ter.

The co­hort, ad­mit­ted be­tween De­cem­ber 2017 and March 2018, were all over 70 and the ma­jor­ity were frail or multi-mor­bid – pa­tients with more than one chronic con­di­tion – or both.

The sit­u­a­tion is the big­gest chal­lenge fac­ing the health ser­vice ac­cord­ing to Mark Wight­man, strate­gic di­rec­tor at Uni­ver­sity Hos­pi­tals Le­ices­ter NHS Trust (UHL).

He says the statis­tics mean that the NHS has been a vic­tim of its own suc­cess and needs a “com­plete cul­ture change” to deal with the de­mand.

Mr Wight­man said: “One of the things that the NHS can be most proud of in its 70 years is that we have added to ev­ery man and woman’s life expectancy, that’s a phe­nom­e­nal suc­cess story.

“Now our big­gest chal­lenge is that we’ve added those ex­tra years and they are not al­ways healthy years.”

Speak­ing to Le­ices­ter City Coun­cil’s health scru­tiny com­mit­tee meet­ing, Mr Wight­man out­lined how the trust plans to adapt in or­der to deal with de­mand.

He said: “The change needs to hap­pen right the way through the health ser­vice, even back to how we train doc­tors.

“In these sit­u­a­tions we need to learn to treat peo­ple rather than cure them.

“We need to look at what peo­ple’s base level was when they were ad­mit­ted and get them back to that level rather than try and cure them com­pletely – doc­tors want to cure peo­ple, that’s how they are trained so it will re­quire a com­plete cul­ture change.”

Ac­cord­ing to a UHL re­port, when health bosses looked at data it sug­gested that pres­sures across the sys­tem were not caused by the num­ber of pa­tients ac­cess­ing ser­vices but by the type of pa­tients need­ing sup­port.

Mr Wight­man said: “What some- times hap­pens is that one of these pa­tients will be am­bu­lanced in to A&E, they might have three or four con­di­tions like di­a­betes, COPD, kid­ney fail­ure, and we then start test­ing them for those con­di­tions. That’s non­sen­si­cal.

“In­stead, we need to get to a point where we’re high­light­ing the con­di­tions at the front door.

“Most of the time peo­ple come in with a cold or flu or be­cause they’ve fallen, things not re­lated to their con­di­tion or con­di­tions, but then we pro­ceed to try and cure them of every­thing.

“If we have a care plan then we can get peo­ple back to how they were when they came in rather than keep them in for long un­nec­es­sary stays.”

Coun­cil­lor Vir­ginia Cleaver sup­ported the change.

She said: “Help­ing peo­ple to want to carry on liv­ing is what we should be do­ing.

“It’s a fact of life that we haven’t got an an­swer for all of these con­di­tions. This is what we are able to do to give peo­ple their qual­ity of life.”

IS­TOCK­PHOTO

FRAIL: Eighty per cent of beds at the city’s hos­pi­tals were oc­cu­pied by 20 per cent of the local pop­u­la­tion last win­ter, and the pa­tients were all over 70

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