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 Wimbledon & Kingston we want to do our part to reduce the number of bed blockers at facilities such as Parkside Hospital and Kingston Hospital by ensuring that clients have support in their own homes for when they’re ready to leave hospital. Home Instead Wimbledon & Kingston prioritises the matching of Care Professionals with clients based on compatibility and individual needs. This personalised approach aims to create strong bonds between clients and Care Professionals, 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 Parkside Hospital and Kingston 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. Our Care Professionals are experienced in assisting clients after they leave the hospital. The experience of our Care Professionals is invaluable in ensuring that our clients have a smooth transition and receive the support that they require. Having our Care Professionals by their sides, our clients gain the confidence to get back into their old routines and the support to explore new activities. Our Care Professionals also go above and beyond to create social opportunities for our clients. As our Head of Training, Katina Sheehan recalls, “being at home gives so many opportunities for social interactions. One Care Professional looked after two clients, one of which had recently returned home from hospital and wanted company. She realised her two clients had similar interests and asked permission from each to do an introduction. They met and instantly became friends”. We so love it when our Home Instead network keeps people happy at home.

Home Instead is a trusted provider of home care services, aimed at supporting individuals in their homes. By visiting our healthcare services page you can explore the various care options available. Whether your loved one requires medical assistance, or medication management, 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 Wimbledon & Kingston 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. 

Seamless Transition from Hospital to Home with Home Instead Wimbledon & Kingston

At Home Instead Wimbledon & Kingston, we understand the difficulties that can arise when a loved one returns home from the hospital. Our team of Care Professionals is dedicated to ensuring a smooth transition for your loved ones and providing them with the necessary support during this critical period.

Dedicated Care Professionals

Our Care Professionals are committed to delivering personalised care and assistance to facilitate a seamless transition from hospital to home for your loved ones. We recognise that this can be a challenging time for both the individual returning home and their family, which is why we strive to offer compassionate and reliable support.

How Home Instead Wimbledon & Kingston Can Help

If you are seeking further information on how Home Instead Wimbledon & Kingston can assist your loved one upon their return from the hospital, we encourage you to reach out to us today at 020 8942 4137.

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