Earlier in the year the UK government allocated one billion pounds to help alleviate the ‘bed blocking crisis’. A term that was coined in 2010, bed blocking refers to the long-term occupation of hospital beds, chiefly by elderly people, due to a shortage of suitable care elsewhere. It is a term that has negative connotations. Many organisations, OLM included, have dropped the term and refer to the crisis as delayed discharges of care. Regardless of the term used, we can all agree that £900 million per year and the impact it has. This is the cost that is currently associated with bed blocking/delayed discharges of care.
Seeing the damage that bed blocking was beginning to cause, the government has allocated one billion pounds to help to help alleviate the situation. The funding was allocated to all local authorities, with the authority’s that topped the list of delays, receiving the highest level of funding. This level of funding was designed to plug the gap between hospitals and local authorities. The main delays occurring because there is no on going care available.
Seeing the damage that delayed transfers of care were beginning to cause, the government has allocated one billion pounds to help to help alleviate the situation. The funding was allocated to all local authorities, with the authority’s that topped the list of delays, receiving the highest level of funding. This level of funding was designed to plug the gap between hospitals and local authorities. The main delays occurring because there is no on going care available.
One billion pounds. This is not an insignificant amount of money but more than 40% of hospitals within Britain are saying that they still cannot guarantee patients will receive care next winter.
Why are they saying this?
In an article within the Guardian, hospital bosses claimed that many local authorities were failing to put this emergency funding into schemes to get patients home quicker. Social care support is not being improved and is in danger of failing this Christmas period, a report from NHS Providers claims. This is the main trade association that represents most NHS trusts in England.
Initial government plans suggested that the £1bn would free up between 2,000 and 3,000 hospital beds. These plans are not being realised and hospitals are worried. The Chief Executive of the NHS Providers Association, Chris Hopson, went on record to say that hospitals, “are approaching the cliff edge” of their ability to cope next winter. He went on to say that;
“Last winter, NHS staff responded heroically to extraordinary pressures. But safety and standards of care were compromised.
“In some places, the service was overwhelmed for short periods. We must not allow that to happen again.”
Explaining his position, Mr. Hopson, went on to say that many local authorities have not committed the money to reduce what the NHS calls “delayed transfers of care” – patients who are trapped in a hospital, despite being medically fit to go, because social care to keep them safe after being discharged is unavailable.
When these trusts were asked about discussions that had taken place between themselves and their associated local authority, less than 30% said that they had received assurances that the money would help reduce delayed discharges of care. A similar amount of trusts (34%) believed that this problem was not being given priority.
Delayed Transfers of Care: Why is the situation not being given priority?
At this point, we can only speculate. One possible reason is that local authorities are unaware of how to use the money to effectively solve the problem. As an organisation, we have been working with a leading local authority to create a solution to the problem. Using our vast experience within social care technology we created a product that utilises modern technology and simplifies the process of finding a room within a care provider’s home.
Delayed Transfers of Care, the solution: BedFinder
Simply named, BedFinder, the App makes Social Care and Hospital Discharge team’s much more efficient, removing the considerable wasted time spent calling round to Care Homes trying to find a suitable vacancy. In its place the user now only needs to check the easy-to-use system for vacancies and book the space online. The time-saving nature of this change in process is priceless.
The modern interface and easy to view availability timeline greatly assist users in their day-to-day jobs. The functionality not only enables the smooth booking of care beds, but it is very useful for providers as it assists them with reporting and pre-planning of their operations. They are able to see when peak periods are likely to occur and pre-plan accordingly.
The system is intuitive and prevents double bookings. Once someone has reserved a room, it will be passed over to the care home to approve or decline. Only care homes will have the power to amend the system, with email reminders and updates being automatically generated from the system if so desired.
The authority that we have piloted the software with has recorded savings of 350 hospital days within less than six months. By using less than 1% of the funding allocated to them and looking inwardly, they have saved thousands of pounds and you could do the same.
Want to find out more? Request a BedFinder demo today.