How Support in the Home Can Help Relieve the NHS

In this article we’ll look at what bed blocking is and why it is causing a crisis in the NHS.

How Support in the Home Can Help Relieve the NHS

Have you heard of the term ‘bed blocking’? In this article we’ll look at what bed blocking is and why it is causing a crisis in the NHS. Pressure on the NHS can be a worry for those who want their elderly parents to receive the best care but aren’t sure that local hospitals and surgeries can take the strain. Looking into Home Help can take the pressure off and give you peace of mind. 

Here at Home Instead Epsom we want to do our part to reduce the number of people in hospital who are unable to return home who are at facilities such as Epsom General Hospital by ensuring that clients have support in their own homes for when they’re ready to leave hospital.Home Instead Epsom prioritises the matching of caregivers with clients based on compatibility and individual needs. This personalised approach aims to create strong bonds between clients and caregivers, fostering trust and comfort in the caregiving relationship.

Why bed blocking is an issue for the NHS

‘Bed blocking’ is referring to someone who is in hospital and is ready to come home but is unable to do so. This is often because they don’t have a support system in place to assist them – patients might be medically ready for discharge, but unable to go home if local authorities cannot provide home care for patients who are without local family support. In a 2022 article in the Guardian, it was estimated that one in three hospital beds in parts of England were being occupied by patients who were well enough to be discharged but were unable to do so due to lack of social care.

  1. When patients can’t leave hospital, it causes an imbalance between the number of beds available and the number of incoming patients. If beds are being taken up unnecessarily, it means other patients can’t be admitted. In some circumstances, this compromises patient wellbeing if they can’t access the medical care they need.
  2. Another problem is that hospital staff are stretched looking after people who could be cared for at home. A patient might be well enough to go home, but if busy hospital staff are unable to keep a close eye on them, they could soon develop further issues while in hospital.

Why it is detrimental for people to stay in hospital longer than they need to

After a hospital stay (perhaps following an operation, an illness or other medical emergency), a patient will be ready to go home when they no longer need hospital care. While they might be well, a prolonged stay in hospital can pose risks to the patient, particularly in cases where hospitals are understaffed and unable to give every patient their full attention. Some of the risks involved include:

  1. The risk of catching an infection or developing bed sores after a prolonged period in hospital. It can be the case that a patient’s health will deteriorate, rather than improve, if they stay in hospital too long.
  2. The risk of a deterioration in mental health and general happiness. People tend to feel better when they are at home, where they feel comfortable and are surrounded by their own things. A sense of boredom can also be detrimental to mental health after prolonged hospital stays.
  3. The risk of isolation from usual social groups, friends, and family. It can be lonely to find yourself on a busy hospital ward where you don’t know anyone, and the nurses can’t chat for long. This too can contribute to a deterioration in mental and physical health.

How care in the home can relieve NHS pressure

When people have a care plan in place, they can prepare to leave hospital expediently rather than staying on longer than they need to. Not only is this best for the patient, but also for the NHS as a whole. Enabling patients to discharge on time from Epsom General Hospital will help relieve pressure and give them the space to admit new patients.

  1. People who are unable to cope on their own can still return home from hospital if they receive support from a Care Professional. Whether they’re just taking time to get back on their feet or need a bit of a confidence boost following a fall, clients will feel so much more secure if they can rely on a Care Professional.
  2. Care Professionals can help a client to prepare their home for their return and make it as safe as possible. For example, if a client is recovering from a fall, Care Professionals can make recommendations about adaptations in the home, such as removing trip hazards, putting in handrails and wearing a personal alarm.
  3. Anita’s Recovery Journey with Home Instead Epsom and Mole Valley: According to Simon Burrowes, the Registered Manager of Home Instead Epsom and Mole Valley: “Our client Anita (not her real name) was able to return home with the support of the live-in care team after facing   significant health challenges. Anita had been receiving three visits per week from Home Instead Epsom, and the service was going well until she suffered a heart attack on December 17th, leading to hospitalisation. During her hospital stay, Anita developed sepsis, several infections, and contracted COVID-19 in early January. Despite these complications, Anita was determined to return home and did so with the assistance of the Home Instead live-in care team in late January. Anita is now continuing her recovery at home.

Home Instead is a trusted provider of home care services, including nursing care, aimed at supporting individuals in their homes. By visiting our healthcare services pageyou can explore the various nursing care options available. Whether your loved one requires medical assistance, medication management, or specialized nursing care, Home Instead offers personalised solutions to meet their unique needs.

When local authorities are unable to provide adequate help in the home for recovering patients, private care like that offered at Home Instead is a lifesaver. Something worth bearing in mind is that it can take some time to setup a care plan, and that to prepare in advance will ensure a smooth transition. If your loved one has upcoming surgery or you want to avoid prolonged hospital stays in the future, arranging a Care Professional now will enable them to have autonomy over their own care. Not only that but having built a relationship with a Care Professional in advance will enable them to return from hospital into the care of someone they know and trust, at a time when they might be feeling vulnerable. 

At Home Instead Epsom we understand that the return of a loved one from hospital can be a difficult process. Our Care Professionals ensure that your loved ones experience a smooth transition and receive the support that they require.

If you want to find out more about how Home Instead Epsom can support your loved one on return from hospital, contact us today at 01372 741544.

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