One of the challenges our healthcare system faces at the present moment is bed-blocking in hospitals. Bed-blocking occurs when there is a delay in medically-fit patients being discharged from hospital, due to the fact that post-hospital care cannot be organised quickly enough.
The average daily cost of delayed discharge is £233. In February 2018 there were almost 140,000 days of delayed transfer of care, meaning that in just one month the cost of bed-blocking was over £32.6 million. Over the past decade bed-blocking has increased substantially and the NHS is responsible for the majority of these delayed days. Significantly, the largest increase has been in people waiting for the provision of home care packages and fortunately, there is evidence that delayed discharge figures are now falling. Although the latest statistics from the NHS show a 4% reduction in bed-blocking between 2015-16 and 2016-17, it is still far from the NHS’s goals.
A delay in discharge from the hospital does not just have an enormous financial effect, but keeping patients in hospital longer than required can have a number of detrimental effects on their health. The majority of patients affected by bed-blocking are over 75 years old. A longer stay can affect their morale, mobility and increase the risk of hospital-acquired infections. Hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) is a big problem amongst the elderly, and hospital staff will try their best to prevent it. HAP is estimated to increase hospital stays by 7-9 days and has a mortality rate of between 30-70%. Research also suggests that a prolonged wait in hospital of seven days is associated with a 10% decline in muscle strength.
At Cera, we are committed to tackling this problem. With the help of technology we are able to provide home care within 24 hours of the enquiry. We have automated all of our processes, and are therefore able to operate more efficiently. We believe that with our systems, we can help the NHS to reduce the delays in transfer of care and build towards a better, more healthy future for all patients.
The Cera Team