The Roundabout of Bed Blocking in 2023 The beginning of the colder weather has again produced media articles about bed blocking in our hospitals. Recent situations have been reported in Trusts in the Southwest, the North East and in East Anglia. Last year and in years going back further, the same old story and the same old excuses given for this situation: 1. Delayed discharges cause bed blocking 2. Delays in arranging social care support 3. Delays in request for funding, where State funding is needed to pay for care support 4. Shortage of care staff. However, what is not recognised is that the sector of Social Care falls into two financial care package formats: The State funded care packages and the private fee payers care packages. Private fee payers are able to exit a hospital bed quicker than patients who have to rely on funding and care support being organised for them. Experience shows that older people and their families are not, as a matter of course, at the entry into a hospital bed asked about their financial situation should they need care support when they are discharged. Private fee payers are not, as a matter of course, given advice about the care providers in their areas/given details of the local support they can provide, e.g. hourly care, night services, 24/7
If a list is given or directions to a website, it is not unusual for the list to have dozens of providers they need to make contact with, but without knowledge as to their appropriateness for an individual. State-funded patients are not offered direct payments or personal health budgets as a matter of course, so if they have to return to hospital in the future, the same old merry-go-round is there. There is availability with over 10,000 home care providers and over 450,000 care home beds. What is not is an efficient system of identifying the providers and as a result, a lack of knowledge about what is available to be sourced both in the local area or details of the providers who operate on a national level. Able Community Care is a nationwide supplier of Live-in Care Support and on a regular basis we advise hospitals that we have availability by email. Many emails simply are returned as ’not read.’ Invitations to come and meet with us, or Zoom with us are rejected often not acknowledged. Local councils in Adult Social Care have been advised to make contact with their local care providers, both in-home care and residential care. To find out what they are offering, their availability and if they have any problems. Advised to build relationships which will lead to a more efficient and financially prudent alternative to the situation they are currently experiencing.
Evidence shows that this is not happening, so once again, the headlines will appear!