NHS England introduce digital tool to help reduce avoidable lengthy stays in hospital
People who need a care home placement will be supported to get out of hospital sooner, thanks to new technology being rolled out to care homes, councils and hospitals across the country by NHS England as part of its Long Term Plan for the health service. In 2018, around a quarter of a million hospital bed days in England were taken up by people who were medically fit enough to be discharged, but who faced delays in an appropriate care home being found that could meet their recovery needs.
The NHS, working with councils, reduced the number of lost bed days by 20% between 2017 and last year, and making the new tool – the Capacity Tracker – more widely available, is one of a number of measures being taken to reduce unnecessary delays leaving hospital still further.
The digital portal is accessible on any device, and takes care homes just 30 seconds to upload details of their available beds, helping health and social care staff to find the right services for individual patients, including those with dementia or a learning disability. Over 6,250 care homes have already signed up to the system, piloted in the North, Devon and Berkshire last year, and now thousands more can sign up to use it.
The roll-out of the tool will contribute to ambitions set out in the NHS Long Term Plan to upgrade support to reduce avoidable long stays in hospital, including better sharing of information between care homes and hospital staff.
Glen Garrod, President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), said: “We know that for the vast majority of people, they are most comfortable staying in their own homes in their local communities for as long as possible, so every effort should be made to keep people well and where it’s possible and safe, to prevent the need to be admitted to hospital, or indeed a residential setting, in the first place. However, if people do need to go to hospital then health and social care must work together to support people through their period in hospital, and on discharge to help them return home where ever that is possible. We must think ‘home first’. If after a thorough discussion with the person and their family, it is decided that going home is not an option and a residential care home is required then it is important we work together, with individuals and their families, to support them to make an informed choice based upon the information and advice provided.”
Source: NHS England 15th April 2019
Also of Interest
Reducing Long Hospital Stays: Improving Patient Flow, Discharge Practice and Admission Avoidance
Friday 12 July
De Vere West One Conference Centre, London
29 April 2019