Discharging older patients from hospital
National Audit Office
HC 18 SESSION 2016-17 26 MAY 2016
Today the National Audit Office has released a hugely significant report showing significant issues in the management of older people in Acute hospital beds, their discharge from these beds and the effects that delays in this transfer of care can have on the older person.
The number of older people in England is increasing rapidly, by 20% between 2004 and 2014, and with a projected increase of 20% over the decade to 2024. Hospitals have also experienced increases in the number of emergency admissions of older patients, by 18% between 2010-11 and 2014-15. Older patients now account for 62% of total bed days spent in hospital. (NAO 2016)
In 2015 over 1.15 million bed days were lost to reported delays in the transfer of care (delayed discharge), and remember these are the reported bed days lost (NAO 2016). A conservative estimate would put the cost of this to the NHS at over £820 million.
However, the cost to the health economy to look after these people within a community setting would be £180 million (NAO 2016), but with the introduction of new ways of working and technology this could be reduced even further. Adopting this methodology could release over £620 million back into the NHS.
There are of course other costs, on average an older person loses 5% of muscle strength every day they are in a hospital bed, this reduces their ability to mobilise, and increases their risk of falling (either in the hospital or at home when they are eventually discharged).
The National Audit Office concludes with the following statement.
‘Without radical action to improve local practice and remove national barriers, this problem will get worse and add further strain to the financial sustainability of the NHS. Given the increase in delays and limited progress in reducing barriers to further improvements, performance does not represent value for money’
Patients2People have been at the forefront of developing radical improvements in the practices in the management of delayed discharge, prevention of unnecessary admission in the first place, improved assessment and care in the patient’s own home. This can only be achieved by radical change in practice, unfortunately the NHS so often finds this hard to do, yet by using innovation, technology and best practice huge savings in time and resources can be achieved.
Patients2People, a small private, ethical health care provider is made up of experienced ex NHS staff who became frustrated at the slow speed of innovation within the NHS. They have a proven track record of providing successful solutions to the NHS. They have a proven track record of providing successful solutions to the NHS and have saved money net of their costs with excellent level of satisfaction.
Article written by : Dean Ayres