Warning over early discharge risk

Older people’s charity Help the Aged has warned that discharge of
older people from hospital could be occurring too early.

Government figures for the first quarter of 2002-3 show that 8 per
cent of people aged 75 and over who were discharged from hospital
were readmitted as an emergency within 28 days, with 3.2 per cent
readmitted as an emergency within seven days.

These percentages have gone up from 7.3 per cent and 2.9 per cent
respectively for the same period last year.

Jonathan Ellis, policy officer for Help the Aged, described the
figures as “worrying”, and called for a greater focus on preventing
avoidable admission and supporting discharge.

“Maybe older people are being forced out of hospital before they
are ready, and maybe the drive to take the pressure off the acute
system isn’t the most appropriate way of tackling the problem,” he

“We need to see a much greater focus on social care.”

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