Frail older people lose out in bid to reduce hospital discharge delays

Attempts to reduce delayed discharge levels could lead to older
people with the most complex needs being left in hospital, a
Commons Committee report has warned.

 The research from the Committee of Public
Accounts states that despite a reduction in delayed discharges –
the current level of 3,500 people aged over 75 is half that in 1997
– almost a third of those affected remain in hospital for more than
a month. These are often those with complex needs.

It states that at present the Department of
Health does not collect data that allows it to analyse this figure
further and calls on it to do so. It goes on to urge the DoH to
devise strategies to discharge the people being left behind.

Jonathan Ellis, health and social care policy
manager at Help the Aged, said: “This report provides further
evidence that despite the overall fall in the number of delayed
discharges it is still the most frail and vulnerable older people
who wait the longest for appropriate services. The NHS now runs the
risk of prioritising those with simpler needs, rather than those
whose needs are more complex.”

Meanwhile, a review of a scheme to reduce
delays piloted by a private company in Worcestershire found that 97
per cent of clients rated the service excellent or very good.
Carehome Selection provides support to families choosing care homes
by offering them more information, up-to-date bed availability and
accompanied visits to care homes.

‘Ensuring the effective discharge of older patients from NHS acute


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