Thousands of older patients not getting home from hospital safely
31st July 2015
A recent report by Healthwatch England has highlighted the problems that older people leaving hospital are facing. Many are being discharged without details of new medication being passed on to doctors, without notifying loved ones and, most worryingly, without asking if they have anywhere to go.
The study took 3,230 pieces of evidence into account, which had been collected by 101 local Healthwatch groups from all over the country. This included those most affected by poor care, such as older people, homeless people and mental health patients. For example, those who have been admitted to hospital due to mobility issues may be returning to homes not suitably adapted with stairlifts or grab rails, and without the necessary people to help care for them during recovery.
Older NHS patients are being failed in hospitals over ‘basic’ care needs
Almost 20 per cent of those leaving hospital also have to return within seven days for the same problem that meant they were admitted in the first place. In another report it was also announced that the NHS deals with one million emergency re-admissions within 30 days of discharge each year, which costs approximately £2.4 billion.
These problems are thought to be occurring due to the lack of co-ordination between health, social care and community services, which has led to a lack of support for those being discharged from hospital. Since these findings were released, the hashtag #safelyhome on Twitter was started, with many taking to the social network to voice their concerns.
In an article published by the Metro, Anna Bradley, chairwoman for Healthwatch England said: “Throughout the inquiry we have heard thousands of shocking stories about what happens when people leave hospital without the right planning and support. This is not a new problem, but what makes these findings worse, is that in many cases some pretty basic things could have made all the difference.”
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