Councils are coming up with innovative methods of reducing ‘bed-blocking’ – caused when patients are well enough not to need hospital treatment any longer, but not well enough to look after themselves in their own home.The news that many are on track to free up 1000 more beds by March of this year comes as the Government has announced the detail of its allocation of a further 200 million pounds to councils across the country, enabling further schemes to be set up.
One council is establishing places in extra care housing schemes that act as a ‘step down’ between hospital and home. People stay for up to six weeks and receive home care and therapy support to ensure that they are well enough to return to their own homes.
Other councils are increasing intermediate care provision to enable more people to leave hospital and regain their independence in their own home. Many councils have increased the provision of intensive home care support, so that more people can be supported in their own home and do not need to enter residential care.
As well as these schemes to tackle immediate problems, councils are being encouraged to build stronger partnerships with the NHS and independent sector in order to establish longer term plans. The aim is to eliminate bed-blocking altogether by 2004.