Posted by Laura Sheath

SAGA Reports: Innovative Solutions for NHS Bed Blocking

Autumna has been featured in the latest issue of SAGA Magazine.

Patsy Westcott’s article which was featured online and in January’s print edition, highlights Autumna's commitment to helping older adults and their families find the right care so they can leave hospital, at a time when bed blocking in the NHS is at an all-time high.

Bed blocking in the NHS has reached a record level and whilst the government has pledged £200 million to support the NHS through the winter, together with £40 million to bolster social care capacity and improve the discharge process from hospitals, thousands of venerable patients are still left waiting.

older woman waits in hospital bed to be discharged from hospital, older adult waiting for appropriate care

Older adults are left waiting for weeks and it’s dangerous

Prolonged waits of weeks, sometimes even months, increase their risk of hospital-acquired infection, malnutrition, dehydration and accelerated loss of muscle mass and strength.

Despite these risks, nearly 15,000 people are likely to be in this unhappy position right now, as discussed in the SAGA piece.

Last year, Sandy Snell’s mother Joyce Strachan, 93, was told that after three weeks in the hospital following a series of falls, she faced the prospect of an extra week in a hospital bed as there was no appropriate transport to take her home.

"Mum couldn’t wait to go home but we were told that unless she could be discharged by midday there’d be no ambulance for another week, and that would mean drawing up another care package," says Sandy, 69.

Discharge teams are strained

Charles Tallack, director at charity The Health Foundation and author of a recent report on the problem said, "Staff are under terrific strain and if they’re trying to find beds for people from A&E it can be hard to spend the time needed on discharge."

Adding to that is the issue that most discharge teams have limited knowledge of availability outside their area.

“The average length of time clients tell us they have been waiting [for discharge] is 31 days.” says Debbie Harris, founder of Autumna. 

The good news is that if older patients are designated medically fit for discharge they have the right to find their own care and make their own choices. 

“Currently, discharge teams ring up care providers one by one to find out if there is a bed available," she says. "Autumna offers a free online shortlisting service that matches patients with registered care providers – both private and local authority – nationwide, within minutes.”

Where is the free shortlisting service?

You can access the free shortlisting service here. It’s simple to use and just requires wifi and either a phone, tablet or laptop.

When you open the link, you’ll be asked to enter some details to help Autumna find the best-matched care service within your budget that can meet your needs.

A shortlist of relevant care services will then be sent to your email inbox for you to compare and consider. If further assistance with finding care is needed, or if you just want to talk things over with a professional who will listen, you can call the free advice line available 7 days a week on 01892 335 330.

The full article, “The Long Goodbye” written by Patsy Westcott, can be found on SAGA’s online edition here.

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