The news reports of the current crisis in the NHS are hard to read. There are no easy solutions, but anyone working in health or social care is aware that Social Care is critical to providing support to our NHS.
The current crisis in part is due to lack of beds and lack of funding in Social Care.
I want to help. I want to support the NHS to free up beds within our hospitals. I have been in a position to do so.
I have had two spare beds. It is the right thing to do to focus on those in hospital who are medically fit to discharge.
BUT.... this is first had experience...
1. I get daily emails from one of our local hospitals asking for placements for those with moderate - advanced dementia who are medically fit to discharge but who require support with ALL aspects of personal care - washing, eating, drinking, moving. On December 14 I confirmed I could offer a bed to a person who was fit to discharge, they were a perfect fit for our home for a number of reasons and I was looking forward to meeting the lady. The fee the nearby Local Authority was willing to pay ---- £650 per week. They said they may be able to offer more and would get back to me....They never did. This is for a long term residential dementia placement. £650 per week would not cover staffing costs alone. This is also far far less than our Local Authority pays for dementia residents.
BUT it got worst.....
2. Five days ago I received an email from "Discharge To Assess" - Hospitals local to us had declared critical incident and urgently needed short term placements to enable longer term placements or support to be found for those medically fit to discharge but unsafe to send home. I emailed on a Friday between Christmas and New Year to confirm I could help. I called the number over the weekend. I have called this week to confirm I have places. It is the right thing to do. No-one has replied to my emails. No-one has answered the phone (this is from the Local Authority on behalf of the Hospital) I was hopeful they would be back to work on Tuesday....I still have not heard
3. All care homes have to fill in a daily "Capacity Tracker" so that hospitals and Local Authority are aware of spare capacity. I have done this. It clearly does not work, or no-one uses it. I know this is not a cost issue as I know I am one of the cheaper homes within the County and we are a "spot contract" provider.
I have kept beds empty to allow for hospital discharges. But I can wait no longer and so the rooms will be filled with new residents whom we can provide a loving and secure long term home for.
It breaks my heart when I hear that "there are no beds available to discharge to".
Surely this would be easy to fix..... why are the discharge teams not speaking to us, and why is there not realistic funding???