The National Audit Office (NAO)’s report on delayed discharges from hospital clarifies the extent to which such delays cause unnecessary harm to older patients and waste NHS money. Delays in discharging older patients cost an estimated £820 million per year, whilst increasing risks of harm to older patients through loss of mobility during long stays. Delays arising from waits for nursing home places or home care are increasing.
Section headings comprise:
- Part One: Delays in discharging older patients from hospital.
- Part Two: Managing discharges for older patients.
- Part Three: The effectiveness of local health and social care systems.
- 62% of hospital bed days were occupied by older patients (those aged 65 or over) in 2014-15. An 18% increase in emergency admissions of older people between 2010-11 and 2014-15 (compared to a 12% increase for whole population).
- £820m gross cost to the NHS of older patients in hospital beds when no longer in need of acute treatment.
- 2.7 million hospital bed days occupied by older patients no longer requiring acute treatment.
- 1.15 million bed days lost by delayed transfers of care in acute hospitals during 2015 (up 31% since 2013).
- Average length of stay for older patients in 2014-15 was 11.9 days.
- Older people can lose 5% of muscle strength per day of hospital treatment.
- 54% hospitals assert that discharge planning is not started fast enough to minimise delays / harms for most older patients.
Triggle, N. (2016). NHS ‘must get a grip on hospital discharge delays’. London: BBC Health News, May 26th 2016.
This relates to:
The Comptroller and Auditor General of the National Audit Office: Morse, A. (2016). Discharging older patients from hospital. National Audit Office Report (HC 18). Session 2016-17. London: The Stationery Office [Department of Health / National Audit Office (NAO)], May 26th 2016.
There is also an Executive Summary.
A recent headline describing the seeming intractability of the problem:
Bed-blocking delays may continue ‘up to five years’. London: BBC Health News, June 7th 2016.