Councils almost halved the amount of extra time people spent in
hospital awaiting the arrangement of a care package in the
community in the three months following the introduction of delayed
discharge policies a year ago, writes Derren
A Commission for Social Care Inspection report – one of the
first to examine the impact the reimbursement policy has had on the
discharging system since its introduction in October 2003 –
finds that councils have generally risen to the challenge of
offering a wider range of care services more quickly.
However, the review of 151 case records and 70 service user
interviews across seven councils reveals wide variations in
discharging practices. The commission, which is refusing to name
the poorest performing councils in the study, found the number of
people being discharged directly into a care home varied from one
in 25 in some areas to more than one in three in others.
This suggests some social services departments, in their hast to
organise a care package within 72 hours before the NHS can start
fining them £100 a day, are placing people into care homes
instead of developing intensive rehabilitation and intermediate
care packages to enable them to go back home. The study found
examples of people being pressurised to go into care homes.
CSCI chief inspector David Behan said he was
“heartened” by the amount of good practice but warned
greater emphasis needed to be given to user experience.
“If health and social services are just concentrating on
rushing people out of hospital there is a real danger this will end
up dictating what will happen for the rest of their lives,”
The seven councils examined were Bournemouth, Cornwall, Lambeth,
Waltham Forest, Luton, South Tyneside and Sunderland.
Leaving Hospital – the price of delays from www.csci.org.uk