[A version of this item appears in: Dementia: the Latest Evidence Newsletter (RWHT), Volume 2 Issue 6, January 2012].
This briefing explains the importance of considering bed use for emergency admissions. It outlines progress in reducing bed use, and indicates that reducing bed use can result in improved quality of care and improved patient experiences.
The NHS needs to achieve £20 billion in productivity improvements by 2015. The acute sector is to receive lower funding for treating patients. 40 per cent of productivity improvements need to be made in the acute sector.
Hospital beds are used for elective admissions and emergency admissions. Bed use for elective admissions has fallen recently. Reducing the use of hospital beds for emergency admissions may be the next logical step. This briefing examines the figures and identifies specific groups of emergency patients offering the greatest scope for bed usage reductions.
This data briefing summarises recent progress in reducing bed use for emergency admissions and the potential for improvements to the quality of care and patient satisfaction. It offers suggestions to providers and commissioners. Patients who stay in hospital more than two weeks are typically older than those with shorter lengths of stay (LoS). Almost 80 per cent are aged over 65 and more than 30 per cent are over 85. Older patients with long lengths of stay typically include those with dementia, delirium, stroke, hip fracture, pneumonia and urinary disorders. It is pointed out that mobilising patients early and keeping them mobile, and improving the diagnosis and treatment delirium and dementia can reduce the length of stay. Similarly important is the need for hospitals to work with social services, primary care, community and domiciliary care to facilitate earlier discharge.
Poteliakhoff, E. [and] Thompson, J. (2011). Data briefing: emergency bed use. What the numbers tell us. London: The King’s Fund, December 2011.