Tackling delayed discharge from hospital by
increasing the number of places available in residential and
nursing homes is not the answer, the health select committee claims
in a report published this week.
30 per cent of delayed discharges arise because a person is waiting
for a care home placement, either because there is not a suitable
place for the person’s needs or because there are no vacancies in
the home of choice.
year the number of residential care places for older and physically
disabled people fell by 13,100 although the impact of the loss was
softened by a decline in demand, with local authorities reducing
their number of placements and decreasing numbers of residents with
preserved rights to income support.
committee believes that, while capacity may need to be increased in
areas where there is a shortage, too much effort is being put into
developing “more of the same” with insufficient focus on providing
appropriate care for individuals and developing alternative service
report states that placing a person in a care home should not be
seen as the “easy option” just because there is a space, and that
the closure of care homes will act as a “further spur” to the
development of care at home and alternative responses.
committee also recommends that people who are unable to access
their first choice home should wait in “interim placement settings”
until a place is available, unless there are clinical reasons for
not doing so.
people’s charity Age Concern has expressed concern over this
recommendation, saying that moving older people to such settings
ignores their right to choose and potentially means they will have
to move twice.
seems to be trying to solve the problem with the system first, and
putting the older person second,” said head of policy Helena