Home Care Helps NHS Avoid ‘Bed Blocking’

Home Care Helps NHS Avoid ‘Bed Blocking’

Helping clients to get home swiftly after a hospital stay is part of our routine service at Home Instead Oxford . We support clients to get home quickly to recuperate and doing this helps NHS hospitals by reducing “bed blocking”.

“Bed blocking” is a term used to mean the situation when someone, usually an older person, is using a bed in a hospital, despite no longer needing to be there, with the reason being that they do not have anywhere else to go where they can be cared for safely.

Our hospital wards are full. The latest stats show that, for example, on average John Radcliffe Hospital has 93.8% of beds occupied in the period to 23rd November 2023.  Whereas traditionally we might expect to remain in hospital to fully recuperate from an operation or treatment, the NHS is now sharing the message that (once sufficiently fit to do so) going home quickly is not only best for the patient’s recovery, but it also frees up desperately needed beds.

However, whilst many families have a loved one in hospital who would dearly love to get home, the state funded social care system is struggling to provide the support required to enable their swift and safe return home. Many people are well enough to be discharged, but their care needs can’t be met by state funded care.

We at Home Instead Oxford have experience of helping families stuck in this predicament. The elderly person or their family who appoint us benefit from the way we communicate with the hospital to find a way to get the person home with the right care in place. The process includes our own assessment of what is required as well as working with the hospital, occupational therapists, and the discharge teams to co-ordinate all their needs and facilitate a safe return to independent living at home.

Prevention is better than cure, and for clients who receive our home care services, we help reduce hospitalization by doing regular re-assessments of their mobility and care needs so that things like falls or conditions deteriorating unnecessarily are avoided. Our well-trained Care Pro’s liaise with our Office team to ensure clients get the medical support they need and stay well.  This pro-active monitoring reduces the risk of a hospital stay. Having Home Instead in place in advance means we are already set up with the family to help if an unavoidable hospital admission does then happen.

When an existing client of ours is admitted to hospital, we visit them to maintain our relationship and raise that person’s morale when they see a friendly, trusted face. We then work with the hospital to assess care needs including their mobility and medication, so that all necessary equipment and arrangements are in promptly organized for their smooth return home. A full re-assessment of care needs will take place as sometimes a stay in hospital means care needs will increase.

For example, a client may have had a just a couple of companionship visits a week, then has a fall and goes to hospital, and on their discharge then needs new medication and even double-handed care (where 2 Care Pro’s are needed at the same time) several times a day. Our Care Pro’s have special training for specific aspects such as catheterization and stoma care so that we are equipped to support clients as fully as possible within the boundaries of regulated home care.

Donna Underhill, Care Services Supervisor says “When we are part of the team supporting an elderly person who is in hospital, we do everything we can to get them home as quickly as possible – as long as they are medically fit to be discharged. Of course the client is our central focus, but it is good to know that by doing our job well, we also help the NHS free up beds for other patients who really need them. It’s really rewarding to see clients get home and start recovering in their own familiar surroundings where they are happiest”.

If you would like to talk to us about care for yourself or a family member, then please call Home Instead Oxford or call 01865 841362 or visit https://www.homeinstead.co.uk/Oxford